Maggie Hart, a South Dakota School of Mines and Technology paleontology student, recently found a rare, beaked whale that washed ashore on St. Catherines Island off the coast of Georgia.
At the time of her discovery in late July, Hart, a masters degree candidate from Brea, Calif., was working on the St. Catherines Island Sea Turtle Conservation Program. In her studies of sea turtles, Hart is collaborating with Mike Knell of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Knell also is a Tech paleontology graduate student. Their work augments studies of fossil sea turtles found in South Dakota.
Hart measured the 13-foot whale, photographed it and collected its skull for identification by Dr. James Mead at The Smithsonian Institutions Museum of Natural History. He identified it as a Sowerbys beaked whale, probably a yearling female. The Smithsonian will retain the whales skull for confirmation and to serve as a voucher specimen for this rare species distribution.
Steve Buchholz | EurekAlert!
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