A rural Burchard woman has been using a rare fossil worth tens of millions of dollars as a door stop. Pepper Oshaughnessy found the fossil nine years ago on her family’s ranch in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.
She displayed the fossil on her mantle and used it as a door stop until fall of 2011. She decided to take the fossil to University of Nebraska-Lincoln paleontology professor Robert Hunt, and he encouraged her to take it to a specialist.
Oshaughnessy went to Howell W. Thomas, senior paleontological preparator of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He identified an extremely rare fossilized whale brain, the second to ever be discovered, and the only one ever found in one piece. Making the door stop worth an estimated 10’s of millions of dollars.