Dig This: Fossils Revealed - NBC 7 San Diego

Dig This: Fossils Revealed

Ancient mammoth and whale fossils unearthed in San Diego.



    Dig This: Fossils Revealed

    Paleontologists are sharing some incredible fossils dug up right here in San Diego. Not only did they showcase the fossils for the media on Wednesday but they will also put the find on public display this weekend so you can see it for yourself. 

    The prehistoric whale bones were found at a construction site in downtown San Diego in February 2009. Along with the whale, a Columbian mammoth's remains were found by the crews working on the future site of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

    It's rare to find such large fossils of land and sea creatures in such proximity, Thomas Deméré, curator of paleontology at the San Diego Natural History Museum said at the time of the discovery.

    On Wednesday, a small crowd gathered at the San Diego Natural History Museum to see the fossils presented for the first time.

    Over a one-week period a team of paleontologists from the museum excavated and recovered the skull, both tusks, the lower jaw, and other skeletal parts of the mammoth from a sandstone stratum lying approximately 20 feet below street level.

    Twenty-four days after the mammoth was discovered, a whale's jaw, shoulder blade, neck bone and upper spine were also unearthed ten feet directly under the layer where the mammoth was found.  The bones were spread across an area about 40 feet wide, and could have been moved by currents, according to field paleontologist Pat Sena.

    The remains could provide clues to the evolutionary history of the animals and to global weather patterns in prehistoric times. Yet to be determined is the exact age of the fossils, which could range anywhere from 500,000+ to 200,000 years old.

    The fossils will be on public display this weekend, Feb. 20-21, at the San Diego Natural History Museum.


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