This is THE LARGESTfossil whale vertebra we have ever had or offered, from the North Sea. It is a thoracic vertebra from a prehistoric whale from the Miocene Period, and was found at the bottom of the North Sea in fossil beds, off the coast of the Netherlands. North Sea whale fossils are much more rare than those found in other countries. Ice Age fossils found in this deposit are often much better preserved but the longer period of time that the Miocene represents, makes bone much less likely to survive the open sea floor compared to less harsher environments such as marine rivers in North America, where fossil whale vertebra are found in better preservation. Very seldom have we even ever seen fossil vertebrae from whales that were found in the North Sea. There are traces of barnacles and sea worm casings left on the surface but we were able to get the bone fairly clean and sealed for protection.
Well-preserved fossil whale vertebrae are rare due to the fact that most were preyed upon by large sharks such as Megalodon and scavenged by smaller meat-eaters when they died in prehistory. Furthermore, the porous nature of the bones makes them more susceptible to decomposition and disintegration over time, rather than fossilization. Prehistoric whale bone fossils are most often found incomplete and fragmented, at best. Large fossil whale vertebrae like this example are not common and are seldom found with a complete, intact centrum without the typical saltwater and marine life erosion and destruction.
This fossil is perfect to display alongside a Megalodon shark tooth collection as this creature would have shared the same waters and served as the main food source for the largest and most dangerous shark that ever lived, the Megalodon shark.