Walking along the bottom of the 80 ft deep limestone quarry at Giant Cement, Josh spotted a line of bone protruding from the floor of the mine. He bent over to investigate the bone, calling myself and Rich Familia – 25 year Vice President of Operations over to assist. We stood by and watched as Josh evaluated what he had found. Within a few minutes Josh had the area around the bone prepped out and within just 1 hour, he had the entire block removed and ready to carry out.
Upon arriving home we realized that the block had fractured, exposing teeth and jaw bone that did not look like anything that we had seen before. The teeth were certainly mammal, but they didn’t appear to belong to any marine mammal that we were familiar with. In fact, they almost looked like they belonged to some type of terrestrial mammal. We decided to send pictures off to Mark Bunce for further identification and were surprised when he called us within minutes of when he received the pictures. Immediately upon answering the phone we could tell that he was excited. Mark was whistling and exclaiming that we had found something he had never seen before and what appeared to be a partial skull belonging to an Eocene Sea Cow. For Mark to have never seen one before meant that this was an incredibly rare find and one that held a great deal of scientific value.
Almost immediately, the decision was made. Not only had Josh discovered an Eocene Sea Cow, this was only the 2nd to have ever been recovered in South Carolina, the most complete specimen ever recovered of its’ species, and to top it off, the only one that would ever become available for research to the Mace Brown Museum at College of Charleston.
The partial skull has since been donated and is now available for public viewing at the Mace Brown Museum at College of Charleston in Downtown Charleston along with many other specimens that have been recovered and donated by amateur paleontologists over the years.
Until next time, Happy Hunting!