12-Million-Year-Old Whale Fossils Found at California Landfill (Video)

June 27, 2016 Updated: June 27, 2016    

One never knows what they’ll find in a landfill, but not long ago a paleontologist came upon something truly remarkable.

The researcher was performing the standard examination of Irvine, California grounds prepped for disposals when she discovered bones and teeth. A closer study of the jaw, flipper, and skull pieces revealed they dated back upwards of 12 million years and belonged to an approximately 40-foot-long sperm whale.

The animal is the largest of its kind and age found in the US and will soon be placed on display.

While Irvine is now roughly 1300 feet above sea level, back then, it was lower and covered by water.  The region has historically been a favorable environment for the whales, providing the resources needed for them to diversify and grow.