Eventually we reached Santa Barbara, and went to visit the small and quaint Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History; historically speaking, there are two important vertebrate fossil specimens at the SBMNH: the holotype of the early Late Miocene walrus Imagotaria downsi, and the holotype of the gigantic bony toothed bird Pelagornis orri (originally Osteodontornis orri, and also from the same stratigraphic unit - the Sisquoc Formation - as Imagotaria). Previously, at the LACM, Morgan and I had examined casts of the Imagotaria downsi holotype, which I assume is back at the SBMNH collections. After our visit, we stayed the night in the quaint and adorably bizarre Danish-themed hamlet of Solvang, California (did you get the double entendre?). From there, we spent another day up the coast driving through Big Sur, concluding the trip (meaning I had to get back to work).
A rescued Peregrine Falcon at the SDMNH, displayed by someone more concerned with his next break than educating people.
An unpublished and unstudied physeteroid sperm whale whale skull with a really weirdly done reconstruction of the rostrum and facial region. The reconstruction was evidently done by someone unfamiliar with sperm whale cranial anatomy, and a long time ago, at that.
Above the slab and counterslab, a painted life size reconstruction of Pelagornis orri hangs on the wall, giving visitors an idea of how absurdly large these birds were. And Pelagornis orri is one of the smaller species of pelagornithids; the specimen that Adam Smith and I published would have been even larger, closer to the size of Pelagornis chilensis.
A mounted skeleton of a blue whale; this is one of the better mounts I've seen, and the jaws are (almost) in correct articulation - the mandibular condyle is still a bit far from the squamosal, although the jaws are rotated correctly.
My wife begged me to go to Ostrich Land when she read about it in the information binder in our hotel in Solvang.
Morro Rock, at Morry Bay, California: this is a huge, ~600' tall Cenozoic volcanic plug (that's right, Oregon coast: over twice the height of Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach) that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. It's basically a huge tombolo.Elephant Seals at an overlook near San Simeon, California. A bull can be seen hauling out in the center of the photograph.