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Fossils of a sperm whale up to 12 million years old unearthed at Irvine landfill

Fossils of a sperm whale up to 12 million years old unearthed at Irvine landfill

More than 1,200 feet up on a hillside in Irvine probably isn't the first place you'd expect to find the final resting place of a 40-foot sperm whale, but that's what Melissa Macias stumbled upon last month.

The paleontologist with Santa Ana engineering contractor Psomas noticed something unusual while doing a site survey May 20 at the Frank R. Bowerman Landfill.

"I was walking down this hillside. I found a bone outcropping. I followed it and there was more bone and more bone, and then the teeth," Macias recalled. "I knew that it was something big, something exciting. I didn't really know what it was at the time."

The find turned out to be fossils...

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