I have been reading and researching this for almost a year. I had posted it a year ago because I was told it was Alligator, y’all confirmed it wasn’t but couldn’t give additional info because the pics aren’t great. I’m wondering now if it isn’t seal. It was collected from Belgrade in May 2016. It seems a bit large for a bird bone. I know partial bones make it harder to identify so I’ve taken several more close photos for assistance.
One possibility for this bone is a phalanx of a primitive mysticete or odontocete. The flattened articular surface is characteristic of Neoceti. Archaeocetes like Eocene basilosauridae (e.g. Dorudon atrox, shown here – from Uhen, 2004) have quite narrow elongate metacarpals and phalanges, unlike extant Neoceti.
This is surprisingly skinny for a neocete, but we’ve got many primitive Neoceti from the Oligocene of Charleston without well-preserved flippers. Most actually lack flippers, so anything is possible.
Thanks @rboessenecker! Definitely the close ups of the attached photo look very similar. What threw me was the flattened or pinched appearance. And it’s so small in circumference I never would’ve thought whale! 🙂