Calaveras Dam Fossil Discovery

June 3, 2018 2:03 am Last Updated: June 3, 2018 2:03 am

Senior museum scientist, Dr. Christina Robins, and student lab techs at UC Berkeley have been carving out one of the biggest fossil finds in the Bay Area. Around 2,000 fossils have been discovered at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

The dam sits next to the active Calaveras fault line on the border of Alameda and Santa Clara counties. Since 2011, nearly 10 million cubic yards of cubic rock have been removed, which is enough to fill Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium 3 times.

Whales skulls, mussels, clams, snails, and shark teeth were revealed including a tooth from the extinct Megalodon shark species. Furthermore, one of the whale fossils reveals a different ear position on the skull that makes Dr. Robins believe it is a new species of Baleen whale.

“This find is incredibly special because we do have a complete Paleo environmental picture. So we have all the plants, all the animals, and that tells us all lot about the area,” says Dr. Christina Robins. It could also potentially give us a better picture of the Bay Area landscape 15 to 20 million years ago.

Each fossil is being prepared and cataloged for the Museum of Paleontology at UC Berkeley as the team unravels history hidden in stone.