Like many kids, Lindsey Stallworth from Alabama loves a day out to look for sharks’ teeth. But on one such trip, it was a far bigger, far older discovery that awaited her.
Stallworth was with her high school biology teacher, but it was the young student who noticed some small bone fragments embedded in soft rock. Following them up a hill, they turned up the nearly complete skull of a 34-million-year-old whale.
Stallworth has been looking for sharks’ teeth on her family farm since she was little, and after her first biology class at the Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile, she learned her new teacher, Andrew Gentry, was a paleontologist.
Showing him a plastic bag of some of the teeth she had found over the years, one in particular caught Gentry’s eye, and he was curious to look in the area where she’d found it.
Not long ago geologically speaking, Alabama was covered in shallow seas, and it’s why Stallworth finds shells and sharks’ teeth nowhere near the beach. She invited Gentry to come along on a fossil hunt on the farm, and it’s where they found the staggering discovery.
“To find one that’s this complete is actually very rare,” Gentry told NBC 15’s Andrea Ramey. “We’re very excited by the fact that we got the majority of the skull out and that there is more of the skeleton left to uncover, which could give us the complete animal.”
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