Panama Expedition Success

A Smithsonian scientist with a whale fossil he excavated
(Jorge Velez-Juarbe)

Paeleobiologist Dr. Nicholas Pyenson, Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), set out with Jorge Velez-Juarbe, NMNH Research Student and Ph. D. Candidate at Howard University and Aaron O'Dea from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on an expedition in Panama to excavate a squalodontid, commonly referred to as a shark-toothed dolphin, in June 2011.

After the plaster jackets are applied to the ancient fossil whale and dislodged from the rocks, they are relocated to higher (and drier) ground. Here, Dr. Nicholas Pyenson, Curator of Marine Mammal Fossils at the National Museum of Natural History poses with the safely encased fossils in their plaster jackets. Eventually the toothed whale will make its way to the museum's Department of Paleobiology.

Watch a time-lapse video of the dig, peruse a slideshow, and read Dr. Pyenson's account of the Panama expedition on the Ocean Portal Paleobiology Blog.