No one has seen a Caribbean monk seal for six decades, and none have been sighted in Florida in nearly a century.
Now archaeologists say they have found a prehistoric tooth from the extinct animal, also known as the West Indian Seal, along the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach. They say it's the first evidence ever that the seal lived in what's now Palm Beach County, which was mostly uninhabited — at least by white settlers — until the late 1800s.
Archeologists from the Broward County-based Archaeological and Historical Conservancy found the tooth last month, executive director Robert S. Carr told the Palm Beach Post Tuesday from Davie. He said his group is "99.9 percent sure" it's from one of the long-gone seals; "the tooth is "very distinctive."
He said it's 500 to 1,000 years old.
Carr also said in a press release that the seal's "occurrence at a prehistoric site in Palm Beach indicates that it was also hunted by prehistoric peoples including the Jeaga. He added that monk seal remains in Florida "are rare, but also have been found (at) Tequesta sites at the mouth of the Miami River and other sites along the Florida coast and the Bahamas."
To read more, go to mypalmbeachpost.com.
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