Whale of a Tale at San Diego Zoo

A rare look at what was in the ocean 3 million years ago

By Michelle Wayland
|  Saturday, Sep 18, 2010  |  Updated 2:57 PM PDT
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A construction crew found a well-preserved 3-million-year-old whale fossil. <p><a href=Read the full story here.

(Video provided by the San Diego Zoo.)" />

A construction crew found a well-preserved 3-million-year-old whale fossil.

Read the full story here.

(Video provided by the San Diego Zoo.)

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Mammoth Find

A local paleontologist describes what construction crews uncovered in the East Village on Wednesday.
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When construction crews hit a hard spot at the San Diego Zoo, nobody could fathom what they would find in the depths of the dirt.

“It’s really a rare opportunity that an excavation is going on at the San Diego Zoo,” said San Diego Natural History Museum Field Manager Sarah Siren.

The crews were using an excavator to dig for a storm water tank. Instead, they found a well-preserved 3-million-year-old whale fossil. A paleontologist verified the find.

“This gives us a look into what was in the ocean back 3 million years ago,” Siren said. “This is certainly a unique find.”

So far they have the majority of the skeleton.

“We’re finding more as we go along. What we have is the skull and moving towards the tail, the vertebrae,” Siren said.

The Natural History Museum will be working on the fossil into next week.

“It is a sizable skeleton and it’s relatively complete so we would like to get all of it out,” Siren said.

Once they get it out, the hard part comes next.

“Transporting it back to the museum,” Siren said.

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