Surfers finally notice huge, ancient fossil


Two things in the world I absolutely adore: Surfer boys, and the movie “Encino Man.”

And the story of the Santa Cruz surfers finding a fossil at low-tide last week? Well, that’s a perfect mix of the two.

Well, minus Brendan Fraser in caveman garb.

NBC Bay Area reports a lower-than-normal tide last Wednesday gave way the fossilized bones below a cliff at Pleasant Point. While small fossils are common along the Pacific coast, this eight-to-ten foot find makes up the upright vertebrae of a whale.

And not some modern-day whale: UC Santa Cruz Institute of Marine Sciences director Gary Griggs says the the bones could possibly belong to a species of whale from the pre-historic Pliocene era.

For any of you non-geology folk out there — like me — the Pliocene era took place between 5.3 and 1.8 million years ago.

Despite the staggering age of the fossil, resident and wetsuit guru Jack O’Neill — whose home sits just above the whale’s location — had never noticed it in the 40 years he’s lived at Pleasant Point.

Lucky for O’Neill, and anyone else wanting a glimpse of the prehistoric find, the nature of the fossil will prevent it from being excavated.

The next ridiculously low tide is set to hit the Santa Cruz coast some time in the month of December. Might be worth the holiday drive down the coast to get a gander at the dino-like find.

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