Whale bones uncovered in Oceanside estimated to be 120,000 years old

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- A rare discovery was recently made at a construction site across from the Oceanside pier.

Whale bones said to be around 120,000 years old were uncovered.

“This is a very exciting find for sure,” said Todd Wirths, senior paleontologist at Brian F. Smith & Associates.

Wirths said the fossil is a rib of a prehistoric whale. The bones were found as construction workers were working on the Oceanside Beachfront Resort project.

“We’re hired to be there while they dig so that’s the beauty of it. We’re there to watch out for these resources so in this particular instance we discovered it as they were digging right there and when we asked the equipment operator to stop he did,” Wirths said.

Wirths said they recovered the remains which will be put back together and preserved.

FOX 5 asked Wirths what type of whale the bones belonged to.

“There’s not much of it preserved and I haven’t had a good look at it, but I think in the lab when we fix it up, glue it back together preserve it we’ll probably get a good chance at least, narrow it down to the whale family,” he answered.

Wirths said the whale was likely very similar to the whales we see today.

“120,000 years ago sounds like a long time ago, but in geologic time and evolutionary time it’s not that old,” Wirths said.

Still, the fragments are ancient to us, and soon you can have a whale of a time looking at them at the San Diego Natural History Museum. They are expected to be at the museum by the end of the year.

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