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The Vermont State Fossil

Vermont State Fossil, White Whale (Delphinapterus leucas) The white whale (Delphinapterus leucas) was designated the state fossil by Act No. 66 (1993). It is a toothed whale recognized by its brilliant white to grey-white color, prominent forehead knob or "melon", and lack of a dorsal fin. The Charlotte whale was uncovered during construction of the first railroad between Rutland and Burlington in 1849. This specimen dates from approximately 12,500 years ago when the Atlantic Ocean flooded the Champlain Basin, which was depressed below sea level by huge glacial ice sheets, inundating it with marine waters. For 2500 years following that, this region existed as an arm of the Atlantic Ocean known as the Champlain Sea. This particular whale contains the most complete post-cranial remains of the Champlain specimens yet found.

------- from Office of the Secretary of State, Vermont Legislative Directory and State Manual, Biennial Session, 1993-1994, p. 24.


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