“I was in awe, because I knew a vertebrae with ribs is a pretty rare find,” Heiman said.
It didn’t take Heiman long to realize the project needed professionals. He informed Santa Cruz County and, ultimately, ‘paleoresources’ consultants in Auburn. The crew took months to dig through the rock and sandstone to get underneath the whale fossil and now, it is encased in plaster for protection.
“We think we might have found a jawbone, so it might be a Baleen whale. If it is, it might be a brand new species, or a second example of a previously described species, they’re not common,” said David Maloney, PaleoResources Field Supervisor.