- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The storms that struck California this month have led to the discovery of fossils on beaches and mountains along the Pacific Coast that date back anywhere from 5,000 to 10 million years, according to a news report.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported (https://bit.ly/1vcDMYD ) the heavy rain, wind and runoff eroded coastal bluffs and mountains and exposed the fossils.

This week, marine biologist Giancarlo Thomae found a meglodon tooth on a Santa Cruz beach that could be 10 million years old. Meglodons were massive great white shark of its era.

He also recently found the tooth of a bison that lived about 5,000 years ago in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The area, which received up to 25 inches of rain from the storms, is an area scientists have identified as once being the sea floor.

Other finds include the tooth of an extinct animal that was similar to a hippopotamus, teeth from an extinct species of sea lion and 20 species of ancient sharks. A National Park ranger found a tooth from a saber-toothed cat in the cliffs at Fort Funston in San Francisco.

One scientist says a blend of volcanic events, sea level fluctuations and geologic uplifting could have led to the discoveries of the fossils.

“In many cases, it’s likely that preserved remains like a shark tooth settled out in the ocean, or that of a mammal like the tooth of a saber-tooth settled in an ancient river valley,” Tom Hesseldenz said. “It fossilized and then ended up above sea level due to sea level change and uplifting.”


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