Sixteen thousand millennia ago, a great ocean bay, teeming with life, covered the future location of California's southern San Joaquin Valley.

Evidence of that life still exists in the skeletons of whales, the bones of long-extinct sea lions and the fearsome teeth of the 50-foot shark known as megalodon.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the ancient bone bed near Shark Tooth Hill near Bakersfield will be opened to amateur paleontologists for a rare dig.

Organized by the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History, the event will help fund the museum and its educational programs.

All attendees must be museum members. Cost of membership is $25 per person, $20 for seniors and $75 for families.

Cost of the dig is $85 for a one-day pass with multiple-day reservations also available.

Diggers will be allowed to keep all teeth (including megalodon teeth) and fossils with the exception of rare scientifically significant assemblages or articulated fossils.

For details go to or call the museum at 324-6350.