On Display

Want to see fossils from the Central Coast? Here are the few places to do so:

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

The Hall of Paleontology

The largest display of fossils from the Central Coast resides in the Hall of Geology and Paleontology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Displays include Miocene marine fossils (like a sperm whale skull and a giant toothed bird), ice age tar pit remains, and bones from Emma the Moorpark Mammoth. But the most extensive displays concern the unique channel island dwarf mammoths (aka pygmy mammoths) with a reconstruction of Rosie’s (the most complete dwarf mammoth known) excavation as well as other bones.

Santa Maria Natural History Museum

This tiny museum in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County, has small displays of local fossils, most on loan from local collector Ralph Bishop. The main case houses late Pleistocene fossils of mammoth, deer, ground sloth, and other creatures from the Santa Maria Valley. Also on display are late Miocene marine fossils from the area.

Lompoc Museum

A fossil dolphin from local rocks

This small museum in Lompoc, Santa Barbara County has a large collection native American artifacts and historical objects. The main fossil consists of a late Miocene dolphin skeleton found in local diatomacious shales. Nearby cases display fossil fish and whale bones from the same strata.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The Sese formation display in the Age of Mammals

The Age of Mammals hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County features some fossils from the Central Coast. The main floor houses an Oligocene horse from Ventura County as well as a Pleistocene mastodon from Simi Valley. Up on the mezzanine the “Fossil History of LA” display contains a section on the Sespe formation. The main display shows off fossils from the Eocene epoch, around 40 million years ago including bones of rhinos, reptiles, and primitive carnivores. Beside the display are the bones of rhinos and a tortoise from the Oligocene Kew Quarry.

3 thoughts on “On Display

  1. I have a private collection I would like validated. I have only an AS degree and have stumbled upon locations that may harbour more information of prehistory civilizations here in San Luis Obispo County

    My collection may very well include :

    petrified owl

    Large snake head of translucent stone.

    Stone skull

    Fossilized heart with gross anatomically noted features.

    Indian art

    Photo imagery so highly detailed as to suggest electro magnetic resonance imprinted on earth leaving indefinite impressions from deep within the soil radiating outward/inward to include soil, shell, stone, mountain sides, cliffs, vegetation growth, (or lack of), forming imagery.

    Roof tops, sidewalks, roads and parking lots. Somehow, a photograph like imagery exists on our planet and thought here in San Luis Obispo.

    Groups of civilizations seem to be illustrated in more than one area. Features of very familiar linkage in civilizations that greatly differ from another displaying same time interacting of various emotional levels and domination.

    I would like to validate my observations by documenting like images and possibly identical images found on totally differing scales that can be obtainable by anyone bl bus via mapping and specific areas to compare found imagery likenesses.

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