I don't know if these holes in the bones are semi-circular canals for ear balance, but they certainly could be.
Here's the block after a large section came off. There are skull bones at the upper end and lower end of the removed block.
I continue to work on good 'ol block 2 which I've been slaving away for two+ years. I started chasing a small bone cluster on the surface of the break plane between block 1 and block 2 - hah!
And it's a species we haven't seen before. The sutures look like a nautiloid, but the sides of the animal don't have the typical indented whorls. Instead, they resemble some of the more globular ammonites. It is a lower priority (and shells are difficult to prepare) but it's still going to be interesting. A new species, perhaps?
So here's the cluster of bones. I think one is a section of mandible while the other one is a thin part of a skull, maybe around the orbit. Full identification will have to wait until they are fully prepped.
Last of all, when the block broke off it exposed yet another bone clustered with the ones I originally started with. However, preparing this bone revealed a wonderful surprise - it's ANOTHER BRAINCASE!!!! This makes 4 total now - so we have at least four animals!!!!
And to be even more interesting it's about 30% LARGER than the largest one we had (which was the previous largest one) - so we have a growth sequence of four individuals all different sizes! It will take another 3-4 weeks to get this one out as most of it is still in the main block buried deeply. However it's really worth pursuing.
Like I said, it's been a crazy couple of weeks.
Sincerely, Greg Carr