We purchased the quarry and surrounding 85 acres in 2010 from the Ernst family. It was our hope to carry on the the legacy of exploring, discovering, and sharing the many amazing fossils found here as did the late Bob Ernst.
Bob, the previous owner of our quarry, was a well known passionate fossil collector who personally collected thousands of fossil specimens from several quarries within his 340 plus acres including the quarry which we now own. He started the "Buena Vista Museum," located in Bakersfield, to house and display his vast collection. Many of these fossils are still there on display today.
Some of the remaining quarries are still owned by the Ernst family. Bob Ernst's son, Rob, has developed them into "The Ernst Quarries" a paid to dig site where the public can experience digging for their own fossils in the STH bonebed.
If rain is plentiful, we see an abundance of beautiful springtime flowers on the quarry and surrounding acres
Shown here are 40 associated shark vertebrae in plaster jackets. The first 2 were found by Sean. Usually your lucky to just find one, so this made us wonder if there were more. Sean let me take over the excavating where I uncovered the other 38. Volunteers from Buena Vista Museum helped us jacket them up.
The jackets were taken to Buena Vista Museum's lab where I began prepping them. During the cleaning several more vertebra were found.
Among the scattered shark vertebrae is part of a dolphin jaw. Jacket #1 is now on display at Buena Vista Museum. I am still working on Jacket #2 and should have it ready to be displayed soon
This beautiful dolphin skull was featured in National Geographic's "America's Lost Treasures" show in 2012. During the filming we were introduced to paleontologist Dr. Larry Barnes from LA Natural History Museum. He examined the dolphin and determined that it possibly was a new species. He suggested that I come to their museum's lab and prepare the dolphin under the supervision of Dr. Barnes and senior paleontological preparator, Howell Thomas.
I became a LA Museum volunteer and worked in the lab preparing the skull. After many hours of careful cleaning, I began to see all the delicate features of this little dolphin emerge. With the prepping process completed, we then performed a 3-D scan and reassembled the prepared pieces of the skull and snout.
What a privilege and honor to be included in this exciting process.
After all the preparing was completed, Dr Barnes studied the dolphin and confirmed that it was a new species belonging to the pontoporiidae family. There was no doubt in our minds that this incredibly rare fossil should be donated to the Museum. In 2013 it was donated to LA County Natural History Museum and is now housed there for further study.
In 2013 we were asked by LA History Museum if we would like to host a field trip for the Society of Vertebrae Paleontology meeting which was to take place in Los Angeles. We agreed to it and decided to enclose an area of exposed bonebed to feature during the field trip at our quarry. It was some undertaking getting all the construction done in such a rural area, but we did it. Here is the room in the framing stage.
With help from family, friends, and volunteers we completed the bone room in time for the field trip. Sean, shown here is admiring his handy work of dirt steps leading up to the entrance.
As Sean, family, and workers completed the exterior, I was busy exposing the fossils in the interior. Here is a section of excavated bonebed from inside the room.
Fifty plus paleontologists attended the tour of the quarry. Quite an exciting day!
After viewing fossils from the quarry back at camp, our next stop was seeing them in the field. SVP members checking out the whale association featured in Shark weeks's "Sharkzilla" show.
Dr. Sam McLeod from LA Natural History museum points out the many fossils in the STH bonebed while Dr. Larry Barnes, myself, and fellow SVP members look on.
Megalodon teeth are always a thrill to find. I had an especially lucky weekend and found two. This is the first one.
Here is 3 of the 4 dolphin skulls we found on the quarry. The 4th one not shown here is the new species dolphin that we donated to LA History museum.
July 2018 -I finally finished excavating out the whale association that was featured in the shark week show. The ribs are all prepped and I will be working on the vertebrae this summer
Sharkzilla whale rib bones
Our pet bird BBT has taken quite a liking to fossil shark teeth
Nothing like a dirt nap after a hard day of digging