4-million year old whale fossil discovered in California

A 4-million year old whale fossil has been uncovered near the surface of a Scotts Valley construction site in California. These bones were discovered on September 4th by an archaeological consulting service assigned to the project – there in case any significant finds such as this happened to turn up. "On some project sites, if a rock unit is known to have a high potential to produce it," Paleontologist Scott Armstrong of Paleo Solutions said, "then it's typically outlined in the planning process and environmental impact report."

California is an earthquake center due to its existence on a set of fault lines. When the earth grinds its gears, mountains move. "Most places where you see a hill, somewhere there's a fault line nearby pushing it up," said Armstrong to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Armstrong described how this particular fossil is rare due to its relatively intact condition.

Included so far are a large portion of the whale's skull, shoulder blades, a significant amount of its jaw, "arm" bones, and a number of vertebrae.

It's not entirely uncommon for hobbyists to find shark teeth in the dirt in Scotts Valley. The city was fully submerged along with the rest of California some 300-million years ago. Around 80-million years ago, California was still part of a shallow sea.

At this time the whale species has not been identified fully. This specimen's age will say a lot about how whales have changed over the past several million years.

"A lot of whales were starting to evolve from their early ancestral group so this specimen, depending on how complete it is," said Armstrong, "could say a lot of interesting things about the evolution of whales."