15 million-year-old whale skull found on banks of Potomac River
Courtesy Calvert Marine Museum - This 15-million-year-old whale skull was recovered July 20 at Stratford Hall, Va. Calvert Marine Museum officials say the skull is 6-feet long and the entire whale would have been at least 25-feet long.
From the banks of the Potomac River, in a region steeped in American history, a massive fossil was dug up last month that apparently can be traced back to a time long before this country’s recorded history, a time deep in the world’s prehistory.
The fossil is the skull of a whale that is “approximately 15 million years old,” said John Nance, the paleontology collections manager at the Calvert Marine Museum in Southern Maryland.
The skull is about six-feet long and is believed to weigh about 1,000 pounds. It was excavated in July from the cliffs at the edge of the Potomac on the grounds of Stratford Hall, the home of Virginia’s Lee family and the birthplace of Robert E. Lee.
The rest of the skeleton, which experts believe belongs to a type of baleen whale that has since gone extinct, remains embedded in Stratford Hall’s sand-colored cliffs.
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