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? 

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