A road cut along the coast of Chile has revealed the world’s densest concentration of marine mammal fossils. Ahead of road building, an initial collection unearthed fossil skeletons-of more than 40 large whales and other animals — a fraction of what remains buried. The mammals died at sea, probably casualties of toxic algae blooms, which are common in Chile’s iron-rich waters. Many carcasses drifted belly-up onto the beach, where, over a 10-to-16-thousand-year period, sediments covered their bones — layer after layer. The deposition process occurred between 6 million and 9 million years ago. LARGE MAMMAL FOSSILS FOUND SO FAR Three baleen whales, an aquatic sloth Three baleen whales Baleen whale Ten baleen whales, a sperm whale, three seals Fifteen baleen whales, a dolphin, a walrus-whale Atacama Desert Caldera Pan-American Highway Whale Hillexcavations Pacific Ocean 1 mile 8 ft. 20 ft. 23 ft. 25 ft. Atlantic Ocean Pacific Ocean D.C. South America Caldera,Chile

SOURCE: National Museum of Natural History, Google Earth.