Sixteen year old Lindsay Stallworth did not expect to find a potential new species of whale on her family’s timber property in Monroe County, Alabama, on her first day of digging. In June, she and her science teacher, Drew Gentry, found the skull of a whale that swam through the shallow seas covering most of southern Alabama millions of years ago and which is estimated to be 34 million years old. Gentry, who hoped to find more fossilized shark teeth like the ones Stallworth brought into class last year, previously discovered two new species of turtles from fossils in the state, one a species that lived 83 million years ago. It took a month of long days to dig and clean the skull, which appears to be a smaller relative of the Basilosaurus cetoides, a 50- to 60-foot ancient whale species that is Alabama’s state fossil. The skull is now at Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile for research.

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