Hello - is anyone able to suggest which cetacean this vertebra is from, approx 32 cm at longest point, disc 7cm across. Found on Shetland beach. Many thanks
The end of the vertebral body is covered with radiating ridges, attached to this would be a disc of bone which is completely smooth on the outside. The soft intervertebral disc would sit between two smooth bony surfaces. In young animals the bony disc has not fused with the main vertebral body and falls off after decay of the animal. Regarding possible species this easily falls within the measurement range for a Beaked whale, either Sowerby's of Cuvier's, again a side view would be most helpfull.
Large Dolphin ,such as bottle nosed dolphin, have many short vertebra with tall slender spines, this vertebra is more massive and has a tall but Broad spine. That suggests a whale species. Looking at the work of Van Beneden and Gervais both Pilot Whale and the two Beaked whales have vertebra similar in shape to this. This vertebra is quite worn round the edges and I am not sure I can be certain which of these three of whales this belongs to.