Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Best Fossil Find Yet

Last week I took the kids for a "fossil walk" on my favorite beach in Santa Barbara. I was on a hunt for more fossils but specifically, for teeth. I found no teeth but I did find this; my most interesting find yet.

It was partially buried behind some movable rocks but its symmetry was as distinctive as a neon sign.

I exposed as much of the rock as I could, wiping off the wet sand with a rag I happened to have in my pocket.

The bilateral symmetry, and features such as the sinus cavities and cochlear spirals made me think later that it could be part of a skull.

I sent a picture of it to Andy Wyss, a Vertebrate Paleotologist  at UCSB (I love google). He told me that he believes this is the cross section of a Miocene whale. The matrix rock is part of the Monterey Formation.

I took my husband Tom back to the beach two days later to see this fossil again. I found a couple new specimens while I was there.

My fossil has it's neon sign illuminated.

Dr. Wyss (he told me to call him Andy) said I have an eye for finding fossils. I am so happy to have this gift. I have asked my kids many times if they would like to go to the badlands of Hell Creek with me to search for dinosaurs. Who could of imagined that I would find my own bed of ancient bones with stories to tell, right here, at home? 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


The truth is, I love rocks. I love rocks and animals. I love animals who return my affection, like my dog, London. I love stars and the mountains and my family. I also love to create.

I love to create and share.

I love being inspired by things like stickers.

I love sparkle.

I love trees and birds and bugs.

I love being silly and sending my husband  commanding texts like this one:

I love it when he responds by entering my domain (the very messy garage) to do what I ask of him (kiss me).

I love giving.

I love the power of innocence.

I love the ocean waves when they are glassy and you can see inside the barrel when they break.

I love my life (said in an accent like this : "aye luv ma laif"), in imitation of my son, Aidan, who makes me laugh.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Vertebrate Fossils of Santa Barbara

I am perplexed. Hungry for information on the fossils I have found, I google "vertebrate fossils Santa Barbara" and images I have taken from my own blog come up. I research "Miocene fossils of Santa Barbara" and find only evidence of invertebrates and whales, all embedded in shale or a different kind of rock all together. I am hungry for information.  I post this in hopes that someone will have some information for me.
My first fossil find, identified only as a bony fossil but an unknown part of vertebrate anatomy. 

I sent these pictures to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History several years ago and received no response.

I found this rock that greatly resembles a fossil egg on the same day I found my first vertebrate fossil. 

I began finding specimen after specimen on a particular beach in Santa Barbara. Every walk on the beach seemed to reveal a new find.

This is me in front of a particularly rich fossil bed

My educational background is in human anatomy, anthropology, medicine with geology and paleontology as hobbies. I don't have a lot of experience with comparative anatomy so I am having a hard time figuring out if these are mammalian, reptilian or ichtheoid  (bony fish) fossils.

If you, my future reader, have any insights, please comment.