Only one person got to be the first to find a dinosaur bone in California, and that was 17-year-old Al Bennison in 1936. He was exploring Del Puerto Canyon in the Coast Ranges along the western part of Stanislaus County looking for shell fossils when he found bones scattered on a slope. He showed them to his science teacher who reported them to the paleontologists at U.C. Berkeley. A year later Bennison discovered the most complete mosasaur skull ever found in California (see below). The mosasaur species even bears his name. It may not be much of a surprise that he went on to become a paleontologist. 

Dinosaurs certainly capture the imagination of our children (and not a few of our adults), and it is a good thing for our students to know that our county played an important part in the paleontological discoveries in our state. When students realize that one of their own (however long ago) made an important find, they also can visualize themselves as a paleontologist or geologist making important contributions to science.


PO Box 151 Patterson CA 95363


T: 209.690.7411

Join us as we continue to educate and advocate for the protection of our West Side Community from the real hazards of the proposed dams, while also guarding the historically significant and unique Del Puerto Canyon.  We are a diverse group, thousands strong- and growing - join us!   #SaveDelPuertoCanyon  #NoDPCReservoir

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