15 Million-Year-Old Fsil Discovered in California After Fierce Earthquakes
Scientists in California have uncovered an oldie but goodie.
After back-to-back early earthquakes in Ridgecrest, Calif., a dislodged, 600-pound stone containing a fossilized torso was discovered.
Researchers believe the fossil is 15 million years ago. A July 4 earthquake, registering a 6.4 on the Richter scale, and a second stronger one the following day caused the break of a 4-foot-long block, which caused it to roll down onto a road, reported the Ventura County Star on Saturday.
Russell Shapiro, a California State-Chico paleontology professor, supposes the relic might be a small whale from when the Pacific Ocean covered coastal southern California.
But because the creature is missing its head, he can’t be certain. He theorizes it could also be that of a sea hippo.
“I really want to go back and look for (the head),” Shapiro joked.
A utility crew called an environmental consulting firm after spotting the block in mid-July. It sent a photo of the strange find to the business, for which Shapiro works.
6.4-magnitude earthquake, aftershocks rattle Southern California
He’s confident the rock dates back the Miocene epoch, which lasted between 23 million years and 5.3 million years ago.
“We think this particular one is probably about 15 million years old,” asserted Shapiro, who added he’s thrilled by the amount of material besides bone found in the block.
Rare vertebrae fossils are protected by federal laws and can not be destroyed, claimed Shaprio