A whale fossil that is believed to be four million years old was discovered last week in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California.
A team of archaeologists uncovered the fossil of a whale in Scotts Valley, a small city in the Santa Cruz County, California. Experts believed that this particular site was a promising site for archaeological finds which was why an archaeological monitor was sent to that area. Constructions had already started in the area, when the fossil was found.
Matthew Clapham, an associate professor at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California in Santa Cruz, said that there were several other similar project sites around California, where fossils could be found.
Shark teeth and marine fossils are often uncovered along the California coast. Over time, archaeologist found fossils of seals, fish, whales, dolphins, and sharks in Bakersfield, Southern California.
The newly discovered fossil is relatively intact, having pieces of the shoulder blades, skull, vertebrae, and jaw, according to palaeontologists and archaeologists.
“I think of the fossils you get along the coastline, it’s more common to get a piece of the skull or the brain case or some bones so this sounds like a very impressive find. If the bone is softer than the rock, it makes it very difficult because it’s hard to chip through the rock without breaking the softer bones, but we’ll get it,” Chapman said.
Tuesday, the team of archaeologists started digging underneath the fossil. In order to keep the fossil intact, they had to work with extreme caution, said Scott Armstrong, a palaeontologist and field director of Paleo Solutions in Los Angeles.
After they dug out the whale fossil, the archaeologists encased it in plaster. Archaeologists said that plaster mould would keeps the fossil safe on its way to the Paleo Solutions’ headquarters.
Experts believe that the whale fossil was brought to the hills by events such as tectonic plate shifts.
The 25 feet (7.62 meters) long fossil, supposedly belonged to an ancient mysticeti whale, the ancestor of the baleen whale, also known as whalebone whale. Archaeologists believe that the whale is approximately 4 million years old.
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