Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fossil discoveries at the Calaveras Dam in the east bay

I recently saw a news piece on about some middle Miocene marine mammal fossils being found during the repairs and construction going on with the Calaveras Dam in the east bay (East San Francisco Bay area, that is). Few marine mammal fossils have been collected from the east side of the bay in the last 75 years thanks to extensive overgrowth and proliferation of paleontologically unmitigated construction, so I was pretty happy to hear about this.

The original article can be read here: Fossils Unearthed during Calaveras Dam work near Sunol Regional Park, by Sharol Nelson-Embry

A (lower?) tooth of Carcharocles megalodon, from

The fossils include baleen whales, desmostylian remains, and even Carcharocles megalodon teeth, above. The deposit is apparently mapped as being part of the Temblor Formation - I had no idea it was mapped as far north as the bay area, and am wondering if its not some local lateral equivalent.

East Bay Regional Park personnel share some of the finds with visitors. From

There's some sort of baleen whale in here, and the piece sticking out is identified as an ear bone. Needless to say, my curiosity is piqued!

I'll admit now that I have known about this for a while, and am pleased that they've made a series of further discoveries. The middle Miocene is well-known from Sharktooth Hill and a couple of other localities in Southern California and Oregon, but not further north. So, it will be interesting to see if the diagnostic marine mammals are the same species seen further south - or not. I even had a discussion about these fossils with someone at SVP, and I cannot now for the life of me remember who that person was. If that person is reading this right now... please email me! Normally my memory isn't this terrible, so I apologize in advance.

Otherwise, I've sent an email to the folks in charge as I'm genuinely curious to see which museum this material is heading off to eventually.

1 comment:

Lyndie said...

So where did these Calaveras Dam fossils end up? Trying to take the kids to have a look.