For release: July 18, 1996
RELEASE NO. 96-094
JULY 18 NEWS CONFERENCE:
3.5-MILLION-YEAR-OLD WHALE BONES SURFACE AT NASA
Thanks to the sharp eyes of two surveyors, the fossil remains of
a 3.5-million-year-old whale have been discovered at NASA Langley
At 10 a.m. Thursday, July 18, the findings will be displayed and
discussed in an informal news conference at the site where they
The bones of the 30-foot juvenile baleen whale were found July
15 by two surveyors working at a piping trench under construction.
The findings include a skull, tympanic bulla (part of the ear bones
of a whale), vertebrae and rib fragments.
NASA Langley is loaning the remains to the College of William
and Mary for study, said John Mouring, Langley's facility master
planner and preservation officer.
The discovery opens a window into the history of the NASA
Langley site about 3.5 million years ago, when the Atlantic
shoreline was probably 30 to 40 miles west of its present location,
said Dr. Gerald (Jerre) Johnson of William and Mary's geology
"The research opportunity will provide insight into the
development of whales through geologic time," Johnson said.
Johnson, Mouring, and the surveyors who discovered the whale
bones will be at the news conference. Opportunities will be
available for interviews and for photographing and videotaping the
Media will be waved through the NASA Langley front gate on
Commander Shepard Boulevard. To get to the news conference site,
follow Langley Boulevard, turn right on Doolittle Road, and turn
right on East Bush Road. The site will be visible just off the road
at the sharp left-hand curve on East Bush.
text-only version of this release