Subject: fossils, whale

Dagmar Fertl (
Mon, 20 Sep 1999 12:16:20 PDT

I recently went camping with friends at El Capitan Beach in Califorinia 
(just north of Santa Barbara).  My friends introduced me to what they called 
whale boning.  We found  several (4) rocks that were distinctly different 
from the others, they contained what looked like crystals and had the 
consistency and patterns of bones and bone marrow.  Could you tell me more 
about this?  Are these really the remains of whales?  How does this process 
take place?  Why are so many specimens found in this spot?  I work at a 
alternative ed high school and the kids were also full of these questions 
when I showed them the bones/rocks.  I would live to be able to give them
some answers.  Thank you Trish

I'm going to have to refer you to someone who works with whale fossils. 
Since you live in California, I would recommend that you contact the L.A. 
County Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles and ask for either Dr. Larry 
Barnes (a marine mammal paleontologist) or Dr. John Heyning (a marine mammal 
expert with the museum).  I would hate to misstep and give you incorrect 
information. Unfortunately for you, my speciality is live marine mammals and 
their behavior.  If you need a phone number as a starting point to locate 
these guys, let me know and I'll send you a personal email with that 

Thanks for your great question and good luck!  I was actually in Baja (in 
Mexico) with Dr. Barnes one spring and he took me fossil hunting.  It was 


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