Palm Beach County Commissioners voted 7-0 at Tuesday’s meeting to pay a Miami firm $1 million to coordinate the sinking off the “Gray Ghost of the Florida Coast” in about 90 feet about 1½ miles off the Juno Beach Pier.
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 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.”
Service and sacrifice by the military past and present will be honored Saturday, May 21 at the annual Armed Forces Day program by the Historical Society of Palm Beach County.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, at the 1916 Courthouse, 300 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach.
It starts at 11:15 a.m. with a color guard presentation by a local detachment of the U.S. Marines Reserves. That’s followed by a tour of the exhibit “By Land and Sea: Florida in the Civil War,” and at 12:30 p.m. by a historic weapons demonstration.
Also on display on the courthouse lawn: military re-enactors and their encampments and vehicles such as a Huey Helicopter and military trucks. Food trucks will be parked along Third Street.
The event is free and open to the public; nearby parking is free.