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4284 Views 3 Replies Last post: Jan 18, 2013 4:18 PM by John RSS
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Jan 18, 2013 12:16 PM

Found on beaches west side of Shetland - bone + 2 bones/coral?

Largest item - vertebra - significant erosion with no cut or sharp edges.  Large part of disc area missing.  space for spinal cord seems very large - Whale species?  Top and bottom images included.


Two other items - identical except in size.  Flat round hard maybe bony/calcium composition.  One side has ridges radiating from the middle outwards, on the reverse much smoother with a dip in the middle and a tiny hole exactly in the centre.   Image showing the different sides.  each about 5mm thick. 



Any comments would be appreciated!



  • These are all cetacae bones (whales/dolphin/porpoise). The size of the vertebrae would suggest a large Dolphin; A 2.4m dolphin vertebrae is 5 inches compared to this one which is at least 7, allowing for the bottom of the body being broken off. I would estimate that this came from an individual about 2.8-3.5m long, this is consistent with the size of a White sided, white-beaked or risso's dolphin, all found commonly off shetland.

         The two discs are the ends of a vertabrae body, where they attach through the disc to the next vertebrae. The ridged side is attached to the vertebrae and the smooth side to the disc between the vertebrae.The  size of both are consistent with the same dolphins.

         You could try contacting the whale stranding unit to see if they have a record for the place where you found the bones.

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