SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The partial remains of an ancient toothed whale species that roamed the ocean 5 million years ago have been discovered on a California beach.
Crews removing a 1,000-pound slab of sandstone off the Santa Cruz County beach Wednesday discovered the remains and called in paleontologists, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.
Frank Perry, a paleontologist with the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, says the remains are an important piece of a puzzle that will help understand what life was like when meat-eating toothed whales roamed the shallow seas that once covered the region. Their descendants include the orca and dolphin.
Crews have not yet identified the exact species of the whale. Experts say the partial skull and several vertebrae found should make that possible.