Remains of a second and much smaller sea mammal have been found at a Laguna Niguel construction site, near where the nearly intact fossil of a 30-foot whale, believed to have died more than 6 million years ago, was discovered recently.
Until further detailed studies can be made, scientists could not say whether they now have a baby whale, possibly the offspring of the larger one, or the remains of a different and very small species of whale. The new specimen measures only 10 feet.
The fossilized bones "do not appear to be part of the bigger whale found earlier," said Dr. Lawrence Barnes, curator of marine fossils and head of the vertebrate paleontology department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, where the remains of both creatures eventually will be stored.
"It is my understanding the new fossils were within five feet of the first ones," he said. "To find two animals so close together is a very rare thing."
Steve Goolian, spokesman for H.R. Remington Properties, developers of the residential property known as Antigua at Monarch Beach near Stonehill Drive and Niguel Road, said excavations around the ancient remains are being conducted by members of the Scientific Resource Surveys Inc. of Huntington Beach.
Their staff is preparing the larger whale for transport to the Los Angeles museum next Tuesday.
A Scientific Resource Surveys employee, Charles Reeves, first spotted the 30-foot fossil early this month. He was on the site in compliance with a county ordinance that requires the presence of an archaeologist or paleontologist to assure preservation of any historic materials that might be turned up by grading machines.