Whale of a Find in OC Landfill


You’ve heard the saying about “one person’s trash is another’s treasure.” At OC Junk Hauling we operate under that assumption when we take your unwanted items and recycle or upcycle to be donated, so they aren’t dumped at a landfill. There’s already too much old stuff at landfills. Tons of items piled up over the years. In fact, you never know what you could find — like the recent discovery of ancient whale bones at the San Juan Capistrano landfill!!!

A pre-historic whale fossil was found at the Prima Deshecha Landfill, June 29, in a rock formation. Crews were there to excavate a new 57-acre area to put trash. Paleontologists say this particular whale finding may be a clue to an entire new whale species that would have lived  4 million to 7 million years ago.

So, what exactly did the scientists find at the San Juan Capistrano landfill? Before transporting the fossils to study facilities, it was reported that paleontologists had identified a snout, ribs, limb bones, portions of the backbone, and shoulder bones.

Cool! In our very own Orange County landfill.

According to the official California government site CalRecycle, “Landfills, as well as many other large excavation projects, can provide a significant avenue for paleontological research throughout California. The nature of these projects allows for large-scale removal of earth materials, which would otherwise be unavailable to the paleontological research community.”

Just in case you were wondering how somebody was able to spot the whale fossils from regular rock, that’s why the California Environmental Quality Act exists. It requires paleontologists to always be on site, joining work crews who are operating scrapers and digging up any new ground at landfills.

For example, the area where the whale bones were found is called the Capistrano Formation, which was once a deep ocean basin where sediment collected and turned into rock.

What makes this additionally interesting is that it’s not the first. California landfills, especially in the OC, are a paleontologist’s dream. Among the most recent was a fossil find at Palo Alto a few years ago.

And one final community-oriented point. Whether a landfill is located close to urban communities or rural areas, when operators recover and retain some fossils on site, there is a fantastic opportunity to provide a rare educational experience for local school students.

Hopefully, bringing in this news story helps you to see that taking your stuff down to the  landfill has its impact on history. What other archeological finds might be in the OC landfills, buried under items that don’t need to be there. If you have unwanted items, give OC Junk Hauling a call. Let us determine which can be recycled or upcycled and be used by someone else, rather than just being dumped. Call us at 949-424-9265.

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