LATE PLIOCENE VERTEBRATES FROM THE NEWPORT BAY AREA, ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
by Jack D. Mount¹
In February of 1967, during the preparation of homesites on the east bluff of the upper part of Newport Bay, Orange County, California, a highly fossiliferous portion of late Pliocene sandy siltstone, referred to as the Fernando Formation (Yerkes and others, 1965), was exposed. During the next few months the author collected extensively from this exposure. The fauna, which contains over 200 species and varieties of larger invertebrates, is characterized by both northern and southern extralimital, shallow and deep water, and some extinct species of mollusks. During the process of sorting the fossils occasional marine vertebrate teeth were recovered. These were identified by Shelton Applegate, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. In August of the same year further construction destroyed the original locality. It therefore seems desirable to record this small but interesting collection of vertebrate fossils.
Newport Bay is loated along the Pacific Coast of southern California in the western part of Orange
The Tertiary section which contains the Pliocene fauna being studied appears in the low foothills of the San Joaquin Hills and is exposed along the eastern shore of upper Newport Bay between State Highway 1 on the south and Palisades Road on the north.
The fossiliferous exposure is Los Angeles County Museum Invertebrate Paleontology locality number 471 and is located at Latitude 33° 38' 21" N.: Longitude 117° 53' 2" W. At the present time it is located under the residence at 2161 Vista Entrada, Newport Beach, California. The fossils were collected from a 6 foot thick lense of shelly, sandy conglomerate which occurs approximately 425 feet stratigraphically above the base of the formation.
From the collection of 73 teeth Applegate (personal communication, 1968) determined the following 8 forms:
He stated that these species are characteristic of a cold northern Pacific environment high in salinity.
Also collected but not identified were 8 teleost vertebrae, 5 otoliths, 1 marine mammal vertebra, and 6 bird bones.
Yerkes, R. F., McCulloh, T. H., Schoellhamer, J. E., and Vedder, J. G. 1965. Geology of the Los Angeles basin, California - an introduction: U. S. Geol. Survey Prof. Paper 420-A, p. A1-A57.
¹Department of Geology, California State College at Los Angeles, 90032.
Return to Paleontology Resources page
Return to first page of Jack's Home Place