This is a RARE AND LARGE Sperm Whale (Physeter sp.) fossil vertebra - one of the nicest, large prehistoric whale vertebra we have handled. It possesses an extremely dense mineralization with a great deal of heft to its weight. The unusually dark hues make for an mysterious aesthetic. This fossil vertebra's size and proximity to associated Sperm whale teeth and Megalodon shark teeth leave no doubt this came from the largest predatory whale of this period. The Megalodon shark and Sperm whales were THE apex predators of this period and both competed for food as well as served as each others' food source when possible. The image of two powerful killing machines larger than passenger buses fighting and tearing at each other underwater must have been an absolutely incredible battle to witness!
A well-preserved, giant fossil whale vertebra of this size is EXTREMELY UNCOMMON due to the fact that most were preyed upon by large sharks such as Megalodon, and scavenged by smaller meat-eaters when they died in prehistory. Furthermore, the porous nature of the bones makes them more susceptible to decomposition and disintegration over time, rather than fossilization. Prehistoric whale bone fossils are most often found incomplete and fragmented, at best. In most cases, when bones are found in groups, they are often accompanied by Megalodon teeth indicating they were an important food source for the massive Megalodon shark. The Sperm whale is, and was the largest of all the toothed whales with males attaining lengths in excess of 60 feet. The male Sperm whale is THE largest predator living in the sea today. They are truly the kings of the ocean realm. In prehistory during the Miocene / Pliocene periods, no marine animal grew larger than the Megalodon shark and certain toothed whales such as the Sperm Whale.
Fossil whale vertebrae like this example are not common and are seldom found with such nice surface detail, a complete, intact centrum without the typical saltwater and marine life erosion and destruction. We cleaned this specimen in our lab with microblasters, revealing the minute detail left preserved in the fossil whale bone. The specimen came from a deposit rich in fossil shark teeth of several species including Megalodon and Great White sharks and this fact plus its deep hue that runs through the bone, is a testament to its prehistoric origin. Despite our operations being centered in the heart of "fossil diver country", examples like this are SUPER SCARCE! This fossil is perfect to display alongside a Megalodon shark tooth collection as this creature would have shared the same waters and served as the main food source for the largest and most dangerous shark that ever lived, the MEGALODON shark. This specimen is far nicer than normally seen deserves a place in the finest fossil collection.