The skeletal framing looks as if it is intact which has paleontologists excited. Sarah Siren who serves as a paleontological field manager at the San Diego Natural History Museum said, “It’s rare to have a skeleton this complete.”
The remains are of a Baleen whale and from early inspections, onsite paleontologists believe it had not yet reached adulthood when it died. The whale appears to be 24 feet in length.
Siren is assisting a construction crew with detecting and retrieving the remains. Because of the delicate nature of the remains, it could be a week before the remains are excavated. After the excavation is complete, the remains will be shipped to the Natural History Museum to undergo restoration and testing.
Restoration is not expected to be a long process as paleontologist Brad Riney points out, “usually you just find the skull or scattered pieces, this one is pretty close to complete.” The museum hopes to have the remains ready to exhibit as early as next year.
There have only been a few other discoveries of fossilized whales with remains around three million years, but they all took place in 1980s and 1990s in South Bay. In Southern California, paleontologists claim to have found remains dating back 15 to 20 million years during past excavations.