Located within the Caroline County Visitor Center, this free exhibit highlights the 1990 find of a 28-foot prehistoric whale. The whale was found at the Martin Marietta Carmel Church Quarry by Dr. Alton Dooley and volunteers from the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH). It was found 20 feet below the surface, and estimated to be 14 million years old.
Then, in 2000, the whale was determined to be a new species. It was named Eobalaenoptera harrisoni in 2004, meaning "ancient flipper whale". The term harrisoni is in honor of Mr. Carter Harrison, a local volunteer for the VMNH.
The whale was a baleen whale, having fibrous baleen plates in its mouth to filter food. It is estimated that the whale died as a mature adult. This find has made Caroline County one of the most important prehistoric sites east of the Mississippi River.
Last Updated: 5/11/2010 10:57 AM