Ever wonder who was living in Bodega Bay during prehistoric times? Fortunately our friend Breck Parkman offers fascinating insights. He's a senior archaeologist with the California State Parks, and it's his job to investigate our natural history.
Breck was interviewed for a segment of Quest, a TV program produced by our local PBS station, KQED-TV. The focus was the pleistocene era of the San Francisco Bay Area and included a discussion of the "Sunset Boulders" located here on the coast just north of Bodega Bay. Breck presents evidence that the heavily polished areas of the boulders were caused by the shoulders of huge mammoths. He analyzed the polish with an atomic-force microscope and ruled out wind, water, and other geologic explanations, and explains how thousands of generations of animals created this over time.
It's absolutely amazing to realize that 12-15,000 years ago, this area was populated by an incredible diversity of huge mammals including mammoths, saber-tooth cats, American lions, western camels, sloths, bison and much more, and the evidence is buried right underneath us. They show a few skulls including an especially fierce short-faced bear. Those creatures stood up to 13' tall.
The Quest segment shows that the Bodega Bay coastline was approximately 12 miles out beyond where it is now and the plains in between were teeming with life. They also show that the entire San Francisco Bay was a big valley with a river flowing out what we now call the Golden Gate. The segment is about 11 minutes long and well worth every minute. You've gotta check it out!
QUEST on KQED Public Media.