So Is This Really A Whalespine?

Right at the border of Echo Park and Silverlake along Sunset Boulevard, there are cliffs. They rise about 60 feet or so on the north side of the street. Now if you look closely, you will see the unusual structure.

Sunset Blvd Whalespine

I have been told, and I do believe that it is an ancient whale spine, embedded in the rock. It sure looks like it and I cannot think of any other way to explain it. Every time I go by I think, “Yeah, it’s gotta be!”

So I ask – does anyone else know anything about this? I have not found any additional details on line, and every time I bring it up, even to long time residents, many have not even seen it. You can totally miss it if you do not know its there. But its there alright.

3 Replies to “So Is This Really A Whalespine?”

  1. It’s a tempting thought. My understanding of SoCal geology and cetacean paleontology is that there are plenty of whale fossils to be found over on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and a few other spots in Orange County that have a similar geological history (and the Channel Islands) – they were once submerged because of a difference not only in the sea level but also the areas above sea level now are undergoing uplift.

    I don’t think that this area of SoCal (Hollywood/Silverlake/Echo Park) has been underwater for quite a lot longer (earlier than whales existed).

    Maybe it’s a tree trunk though. Could be some sort of palm or cycad.

  2. There was a time when California was underwater well into what’s now the present-day Mojave. That was in the Cretaceous Period roughly between 136 million and 65 million years ago and I’ve seen pictures of extinct marine mammal teeth from ththat time found in Fresno County. Much of western California was still underwater during Tertiary when primitive toothed whales are believed to have first come on the scene in the early Eocene epoch (about 50 million years ago). Baleen whales showed up roughly 30 million years ago.

    It’s hard to pinpoint the geophysical forces that finally allowed the waters to recede from what’s long gone on to become East Hollywood, and like Cybele said, while tempting, it’s probably not the fossilized remains of an ancient whale. There’d be a stronger probability of it being a plesiosaur or an ichthyosaur or some other terrifiying marine reptile. Those most certainly did swim in what’s now the air we breath here in Silver Lake.

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