Vertical fossil whale in sediment discredits the idea of gradual deposition of sediment!

SciCre-ists sometimes mention a whale skeleton as a polystrate fossil inconsistent with standard geological deposition. Sometimes they go so far as to claim that the fossil extended through millions of years worth of strata.

As usual, a perusal of the original source can be most edifying.

"Workers at the Dicalite division of Grefco Inc. have found the fossil skeleton of a baleen whale some 10 to 12 million years old in the company's diatomaceous earth quarries in Lompoc, Calif. They've found fossils there before.... Each discovery is turned over to Lawrence G. Barnes at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The whale, however, is one of the largest fossils ever collected anywhere.... The whale is standing on end in the quarry and is being exposed gradually as the diatomite is mined. Only the head and a small part of the body are visible as yet.... Another recent find at the Dicalite quarries was the skeleton of a small fur seal or sea lion, one of the few known specimens of the species. Smaller whales have been found, too, as well as fish and birds. On the whole, the discoveries are providing a valuable look at life along the coast of California 10 million years ago. The fossils will be used for public display and research at the Natural History Museum."

-- Reese, K.M. 1976. Workers find whale in diatomaceous earth quarry. Chemical & Engineering News 54(42):40.

Nowhere in the above is it mentioned what orientation the sediment had in the quarry. The claim that the Lompoc whale fossil was polystrate is not established here.

The geology of the Lompoc region is not mentioned by SciCre-ists using this example. Why not? Well, it could be that since the Lompoc region is rife with faults and folding, curious angles to bedding planes are not uncommon. This means that there is further reason to doubt that the present orientation of the whale fossil has any bearing on the question of whether it is polystrate or not.

Thanks to Kathleen Hunt for the quotation of the source.

In general, though, there may not be any particular significance to a discordant (not aligned with bedding plane) orientation for the fossil whale.

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