Ancient Dolphin Skull Unearthed by Strolling Maryland Woman

ancient dolphin skull unearthed by strolling maryland woman.jpg Science

In the quiet stillness of a Maryland beach, a woman’s leisurely nighttime stroll morphed into a remarkable discovery that has left the scientific community buzzing with anticipation. Emily Bzdyk, a dedicated volunteer at the Calvert Marine Museum, stumbled upon a 2.5-foot-long, 15-million-year-old fossil, believed to be the skull of a now-extinct species of dolphin. This extraordinary find, unearthed from the sands of Chesapeake Bay as Bzdyk was casually searching for potential treasures, holds the potential to unlock new insights into our planet’s ancient past.

This monumental find, according to Stephen Groff, an assistant paleontology collection manager at the museum, is akin to hitting the jackpot in the lottery of archaeological discoveries. The skull, weighing 50 pounds, was found to be remarkably intact, a rarity that adds significant value to the fossil. Further adding to the intrigue is the possibility that this fossil could even represent a hitherto unknown species, thereby contributing another piece to the intricate puzzle of Calvert County’s history 15 million years ago.

15-Million-Year-Old Dolphin Fossil Discovered on Maryland Beach

A casual beach stroll in Maryland resulted in an extraordinary find for Emily Bzdyk, who chanced upon a 15-million-year-old fossil, believed to be the skull of an extinct species of dolphin. The discovery, which occurred on August 5th, will now be studied at a nearby museum, adding crucial insights into the marine life of this region millions of years ago.

A Serendipitous Discovery

Bzdyk was out fossil hunting with a friend along the Chesapeake Bay when she spotted the 2.5-foot-long, 50-pound skull. As a volunteer at the Calvert Marine Museum on Solomons Island, she had been on similar expeditions before, but had only found fragments of bones. "I was very excited when I figured what it might be. I had never found anything so put together," said Bzdyk.

The next day, she returned to the site with Stephen Groff, an assistant paleontology collection manager at the museum, to fully excavate the fossil. Groff compared the rarity of finding such an intact fossil to winning the lottery.

A Glimpse into the Ancient Past

While it’s yet to be confirmed, the fossil is believed to be a 15-million-year-old skull from an extinct species of dolphin. "It could even be a new species. It’s probably not, but it could be. So it’s adding another little piece to the puzzle that was Calvert County 15 million years ago," Groff explained.

The skull is from a group of animals known as odontocetes, which includes dolphins, toothed whales, and porpoises. This group had four known species that swam around Calvert County, an area once covered by a shallow sea.

Unearthing the Mystery

Over the next several months, Bzdyk will be working at the museum to scrape away sediment layers and fully reveal the fossil. Visitors to the museum will have the exciting opportunity to see her work in progress.

"It’s very exciting, I’m thrilled. It’s a cool feeling knowing that we got it out safely and it’s going to be here at the museum for science. It’s a big win," Bzdyk commented on the discovery.


The discovery of this ancient dolphin skull is an exciting addition to our understanding of marine life millions of years ago. It serves as a testament to the rich history hidden beneath our feet and the potential for ordinary folks to make extraordinary contributions to science. As we anticipate the results of the study on this fossil, it’s thrilling to imagine what other secrets the past still holds for us to uncover.

Crive - News that matters