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Justin Smith

Found Near Paso Robles, Ca. Whale?

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Justin Smith

Hi,

I found these on my property, which is near Paso Robles, CA, 10 miles east of the Pacific. It is in the Monterey Shale Formation. The bones came out of a trench that was recently excavated, approximately 10 ft below surface, in horizon where topsoil and bedrock meet. The tooth was found along with the vertebrae and skull pieces. What do you think?

post-15205-0-02740300-1399359545_thumb.jpgpost-15205-0-11591100-1399359558_thumb.jpgpost-15205-0-15341600-1399359576_thumb.jpgpost-15205-0-95120300-1399359589_thumb.jpgpost-15205-0-23211800-1399359601_thumb.jpgpost-15205-0-71378900-1399359616_thumb.jpgpost-15205-0-80553100-1399359633_thumb.jpg

I also recently found this one in another excavation zone, maybe 400 Meters away. Part of a pelvis?

post-15205-0-39973100-1399359744_thumb.jpg

This skull was unfortunately near surface for many years before I found it, so it's pretty beat up, but also from my property.

post-15205-0-72808500-1399359838_thumb.jpg

I've found dozens of these fossils over the years, and have always just gotten as far as, fossilized whale bones, but I want to know more! Are the first set a Squalodon? And that's one of it's teeth, or just a sharks tooth that was maybe lost while feeding it?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks.

Edited by Justin Smith

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cowgirlfossils

Nice find! And on your own place..very cool. I'm not adept yet on ID's..but I'm sure you'll get an answer soon...try to tag it " whale"? Who ever checks tags will see it. We are in Simi Valley! Go California!

Good luck!

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fossilized6s

Awesome find! I know you're a noob, but that's worthy of putting up for VFOTM (Vert Fossil of the Month). I would say Whale also and the tooth appears to be from a shark (but im not an expert). But hopefully Bobby can chime-in and tell you exactly what you're working with. It looks actually like a Walrus skull to me, but i could be looking at it all wrong. I know providing different angles would help with an ID.

Lastly i would suggest getting together with fellow members here or at a local museum to help you cobble back together some of your pieces, stabilize them and prep the existing one's from the matrix. But that's if you would like to go further in your efforts.

Good luck!

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Justin Smith

Thanks for the tips! I can post more shots of different angles or closeups of individual pieces if needed.

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Boesse

Hi Justin - sorry for the delay, I was pretty swamped yesterday and didn't respond to any emails (yours included!). Since you've posted here and emailed it to me, I'll just respond here. Aside from the shark tooth - which is an Isurus planus mako tooth - everything you have appears to be from a baleen whale. Since this locality is in the Monterey Formation, it is probably too young to be Squalodon anyway (Monterey Fm. is generally 14-8 Ma).

The rather large piece with the quarter on top for scale is a baleen whale braincase, unfortunately missing the frontals and squamosals, and the rostrum. Other photos show at least one, possibly two large fragments of a braincase - one or two different specimens, I'm not sure.

If you foresee future excavations or construction that might expose more fossil material, you might consider either carefully excavating and jacketing fossil material or getting in contact with someone who knows how - many of these could be potentially important fossils. Those skulls were more complete prior to excavation.

Are all of these from a single bonebed? Thanks for sharing photos of your material! The aforementioned baleen whale braincase might potentially be scientifically important, if it were prepared properly it would certainly warrant study.

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Justin Smith

Thanks so much for the info! The first 7 pics are all from the same bed. I unfortunately pulled these pieces out of the tailings from the trench after it had been filled in. I'm sure there is much more undisturbed but since the trench is no longer open and quite long I don't know where. I've spent the last few days sifting through the tailings, I've found quite a few more fragments, but nothing very whole unfortunately. Is the first picture I posted part of a mandible?

I'm trying to be present whenever they are trenching, I'd love to be able to properly remove these fossils. I usually just find them on the surface and quite beat up.

The 8th picture and 9th picture (both braincases?) were both different sites. So three sites total, but the group of 7 photos including the mako tooth are from the same spot.

Thanks again, I'll post if I find anything else interesting.

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AncientEarth

I live just 10 minutes south of Paso.

The first set of bones look like specimens found before weathering out in the elements, the one which you think was a pelvis, is, I believe, a vert inside the original host concretion.

The topsoil layer is usually river deposit, you find a lot of large tumbled stones in the dirt, it overlays the Monterey from ancient water action. It is possible to find bits of bones or petrified wood, but always secondarily deposited from the Monterey and heavily worn. Most interesting rock I found in that layer was a hunk of Jade in Templeton, another member of the Monterey in places. When you enter in the Monterey shale layers you find specimens like you have, primarily they are in concretions of fairly large size. Some layers of the Monterey are more shale, others have a lot more concretions and not much else. Whale and other fossils have been found in all those layers, diatomacious earth, shale (fish/crab layers), and the concretions.

Whale bones around here are not unheard of, but complete pieces are much more rare as they tend to be turned up in fields from tractor work or, like here, general construction.

Justin, if you want to see some specimens with labels to compare against, you can PM me, I have a large local collection, you can also visit the Pioneer Museum in Paso, on Riverside next to the fairgrounds, and see their local fossil and geology display.

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danthefossilman

Ran across this post, when doing research on the Paso Robles Formation. 

 

I assume you found the "vertebrate" material on "private land" otherwise it is illegal to remove the material.

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UtahFossilHunter
On 9/30/2017 at 8:59 PM, danthefossilman said:

Ran across this post, when doing research on the Paso Robles Formation. 

 

I assume you found the "vertebrate" material on "private land" otherwise it is illegal to remove the material.

He did say in the first line (emphasis mine)

On 5/6/2014 at 1:07 AM, Justin Smith said:

I found these on my property, which is near Paso Robles, CA, 10 miles east of the Pacific. 

Assuming he's talking about his own private property, he is clear of any wrongdoing. 

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danthefossilman
2 minutes ago, UtahFossilHunter said:

He did say in the first line (emphasis mine)

Assuming he's talking about his own private property, he is clear of any wrongdoing. 

I believe the original post was worth asking for clarification. 

 

Perhaps a "positive declaration" in the original post would have been useful?

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Fossildude19
11 minutes ago, danthefossilman said:

I believe the original post was worth asking for clarification. 

 

Perhaps a "positive declaration" in the original post would have been useful?

 

I don't know. Careful reading of the post made it abundantly clear to me that he was hunting on his own property. 

Pretty positive declaration, having been the first six words of his post. :headscratch:

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Pagurus
10 minutes ago, danthefossilman said:

I believe the original post was worth asking for clarification.

"I found these on my property,"  Seems pretty clear to me.

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FossilDAWG

Perhaps Dan would like to see a map with GPS coordinates, a plat showing the property boundaries, and a notarized copy of the deed, as the word of the OP that the fossils were found on his own property is apparently insufficient.

 

Don

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danthefossilman
1 minute ago, Pagurus said:

"I found these on my property,"  Seems pretty clear to me.

Looks like I misread the post.:doh!:

 

 

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Beagle
1 hour ago, UtahFossilHunter said:

He did say in the first line (emphasis mine)

Assuming he's talking about his own private property, he is clear of any wrongdoing. 

Seems to me, he does not need to be talking about his 'own private property' either to be 'clear of any wrongdoing'.  He simply needs permission from the landowner and there are other scenarios as well which would be acceptable.  Not sure why folks are trying to make things hard for a guy who is interested (or perhaps more involved) in fossils and just presented a number of awesome finds.

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minnbuckeye

I typically try to stay out of this type of discussion, but it seems that lately, many innocent posters have been wrongfully accused of illegal collecting. No one ever accuses @Troodon , obviously one of the forum's best bone men, of illegal collection. Yet it seems that the general thought is any amateur collector is a crook. My suggestion is to try and educate the readers without accusing the poster. In this situation, " I assume you found the "vertebrate" material on "private land" otherwise it is illegal to remove the material" could have been presented as        " remember folks, if you run out to California in search of whale bones, it is illegal to collect vertebrates except on private property. This way Posters like @Justin Smith will not feel the anguish created from the inferred accusation. @danthefossilman, your statement was not as accusatory as some I've seen. I just used it for example purposes. 

 

Justin, hope to see more pictures!!!!

 

Mike

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