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A rare whale fossil has been pulled from a Southern California backyard. The 16- to 17-million-year-old baleen whale fossil ...
is one of about 20 baleen whale fossils known to exist. (Aug. 1)
Tags:ap,AP News,Associated Press,gary johnson,Howell Thomas,Mike Leum,Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County,palos verdes
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SHOTLIST:AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLYRancho Palos Verdes, California - August 1, 20141. Various of whale fossil recovery++ALL SOUNDBITES PARTIALLY COVERED BY SHOT 1++2. SOUNDBITE (English) Reserve Chief Mike Leum, Reserve Chief for Search and Rescue for Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department: "About two months ago the museum contacted me and asked if we could help recover a fossil and I thought well that sounds pretty cool. I've never done that before so we immediately jumped on it and for the last two months we've been meeting and planning and making visits. One of our workers actually made the cart that we wheeled it out on so we've been preparing for this for quite a while."3. SOUNDBITE (English) Howell Thomas, Senior Paleontological Preparator at Natural History Museum: "We're extracting a fossil from a baleen whale and the interesting is that this is actually fossil baleen not just bone. Baleen is a soft tissue and rarely fossilizes. We probably have three or four examples in our museum right now so this is gonna be part of a very, very small collection." 4. SOUNDBITE (English) Gary Johnson, Found the fossil when he was a teenager: "I wanted to be an archaeologist so I used to hike the canyons around here looking for whatever I could find. So one summer day I was walking and I noticed what I thought was part of a bone sticking out of this rock."5. SOUNDBITE (English) Gary Johnson, Found the fossil when he was a teenager: "So I called my friends and we moved it on logs near the edge of the ravine and we put it on my folks property. It's been sitting there ever since then."6. SOUNDBITE (English) Gary Johnson, Found the fossil when he was a teenager: "I called Hal, sent him some pictures and he said 'oh I want to see it.' So looks at it and goes oh my God that's fossilized baleen He said there's less than 20 examples of fossilized baleen in the world." STORYLINE:A rare whale fossil has been pulled from a Southern California backyard.The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County says the 16- to 17-million-year-old baleen whale fossil is one of about 20 baleen whale fossils known to exist.The fossil, lodged in 1,000-pound (454-kilogram) rock, was hoisted from a ravine by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department search-and-rescue volunteers. Using pulleys and a steel trolley, crews pulled the fossil up a steep backyard slope and into a truck bound for the museum.The fossil was discovered by 53-year-old Gary Johnson when he was a teen exploring the creek behind his family's home. Johnson called Thomas after a whale fossil was recovered in January at a nearby school.