July earthquakes reveal a 15-million-year-old fossil in Simi Valley deems small whale

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The following July Ridgecrest powerful earthquakes in Kern County, new crew of a private road in Simi Valley made a remarkable find the 600-pound stone block encasing the fossil of a large part of the torso scientists believe probably dates from 15 million years ago. 

Scientists think July 4th earthquake – magnitude 6.4 – and on July 5 earthquake – magnitude 7.1 – dislodged the 4-foot-long block of hills a few miles north of Highway 118 in Tapo Canyon area, causing it to roll down to the closed artery.

Russell Shapiro, a professor of paleontology at CSU Chico, believes that fossil may be a small whale species from entering the Pacific Ocean when covered Simi Valley area and Southern California coastal million years. 

But he is not certain, because being right head found. “I really want to go back and look for it,” said Shapiro with a smile.

Thus, he said, the fossil may be sea hippo, a species that also lived in the Pacific when the Simi Valley area was under it. 

A 600-pound stone block encasing a 15-million-year-old fossil was found on a private road in Simi Valley following July's Ridgrecrest earthquakes. Experts believe the fossil may be a small whale. Shown is Occidental College's Win McLaughlin.

“We are confident that this deadline is miocentskastarost,” which ranges from 23 million years to 5.3 million years, he said.

“We think that this particular is probably about 15 million years old,” he said. 

Shapiro said he is excited “by how much material is in big block. It’s not just random bones.

Experts pose with the 600-pound stone block encasing a torso fossil, found in July in Simi Valley. They believe the fossil is about 15 million years old. From left: Austin Xu, Russell Shapiro, Win McLaughlin, Maisie Borg and Sunny Lee.


“But we’ll be more excited if it was not the head,” he said. 

Russell Shapiro, professor of paleontology at CSU Chico, prepares a large whale vertebrae encased by a stone block found on a private road in Simi Valley following the Ridgecrest earthquakes in July. Shapiro says the fossil is about 15 million years old.

The fossil will be definitely add to our knowledge of the area,” he said.

 “Also it can be very important for the future study.”

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