Later that morning, in sand on the water’s edge, I came upon a worn fossil vertebra, also possibly from a dolphin. This is evidently from a juvenile animal because I observed a distinctive pattern on the end (seen in the picture below) which is the signal that the epiphysis or growth plate is missing, that it never fused with the vertebra. Such fusion occurs when animals reach maturity. The vertebra is also missing most of its processes.
But, in all likelihood, I was wrong about this. In past years, I probably not only didn’t observe, I didn’t see all that was around me as I wandered these beaches in winter.