Mystery Rocks of Half Moon Bay: Resident Believes They are Dinosaur Artifacts

Steve Culbreth shows off his rock collection in a photo slideshow.


Local commercial fisherman and self-proclaimed amateur paleontologist Steve Culbreth lives on a boat in Pillar Point Harbor and first moved to Half Moon Bay back in 1984 from Santa Cruz. He says he's been studying Mesozoic bedrock on the Pacific coast for over a decade. Fossilized rock and bone, which he says have traces of predatory dinosaurs, have been found in and around Half Moon Bay, including Ano Nuevo, Pescadero Beach and Pillar Point. Many show traces of teeth and claw marks of meat-eating dinosaurs, he says. 

"The California Geology book shows the ages of the bedrock where it's exposed," he said. "Some of the creeks have met the mesozoic bedrock that were watershed areas due to the erosion from the increase of elevation of what were once low hills and broad estuaries that trapped the floating meat scraps from the dinosaur feeding activity."

Culbreth says he also recently found the remains of a "large sauropod carcass, which is unprecedented in California."

He contacted many experts early on with his findings and was "rebuffed by all," he said. He spoke to a county geologist and a geologist from the California Academy of Sciences, who actually visited one of the sites, and they both said his theory was implausible because the meat would have broken down.

"The California Academy of Sciences geologist informed me that there were no dinosaurs in California, and won't help me bring this to light," he said.

The curator of the U.C. Berkeley department of Paleontology, Dr. Kevin Padian, also shut down his theory as did paleontologist "Mary Schweitzer's colleagues who said they were igneous," explains Culbreth, "but not even close," he says.

Regardless of what the experts say, Culbreth is convinced he's onto something.

"The geologic community really doesn't have a clue about these rocks," he says, and his discovery "will give the world a more complete picture of the Mesozoic and also the geology of these deposition sites."

Whatever the case, Culbreth continues to collect and study rocks found in the area and created a PowerPoint slideshow "The Secret Life of Rocks" that highlights his collection. His Photobucket site can be found here.

"The advancement of this science will be of interest to all," he said, "and will help promote our local youth into the sciences in general."

All photo captions posted in the slideshow were written by Culbreth.

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jack sutton April 04, 2013 at 08:07 PM
It was reported that a fossil bird Pelagornis with an 18 foot wing span was found in the Half Moon Bay area. The bone or bones was found in the Purisima formation. I'd be interested where in Pillar Point, Culbreth found some artifacts?
steve culbreth April 07, 2013 at 05:28 AM
Yes, Jack, the Franciscan complex or Mesozoic bedrock only shows itself in a few locations in California. Sea-level is where the Tertiary deposits have been eroded away. The Purisima formation is from the time after the dinosaurs. The points of land that define our coast stand-out because the mesozoic bedrock is much harder. The local reefs are also old deposits and remain even as the sea-level rose at the end of the last Ice-age.


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