STATE FOSSIL


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.


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