The gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus – see above) is today only found in the north Pacific Ocean, yet skeletal remains have been found in the eastern Atlantic . Indeed, Gray named the genus  from a cervical vertebra that bore a very close resemblance to vertebrae of an “imperfect skeleton” discovered in Sweden. This vertebra was sent to Gray by William Pengelly FRS of Torquay (see below), a distinguished palaeontologist and famous for his excavations of local cave fauna, especially those of Kent’s Cavern,
This is what Pengelly wrote :
A few years ago, but the exact date has escaped me, there was brought to my house [“Lavorna”] a large bone which had been washed ashore on Babbicombe beach [the old spelling], near Torquay. It was not difficult to see that it was part of the vertebral column of a cetacean, and that it had undergone considerable abrasion. That, however, which chiefly arrested my attention was the fact that such parts of its surface as were unrubbed were covered with a darkish stain, from which the abraded parts were free: a fact which led me to conclude that the stain was superinduced.
The staining reminded Pengelly of that on bones from deposits formed from a submerged forest within the current Torbay  and which had subsequently become flooded. These deposits contained the bones of deer and other terrestrial animals, but whales clearly could not have existed here. Radiocarbon dating of the vertebra, and two others that were also collected from Babbacombe Bay, just to the north of Torbay (see above), showed the bones to be 340 ± 260 years old – very recent compared to the submerged forests and thus likely to have become stained by falling on to the sediments. It is presumed that there was a population of gray whales in the eastern Atlantic until the 17th Century , but how the Babbacome vertebrae came to be washed ashore remains a mystery. The bones are large (the one illustrated below being 41 cm across) and that only adds to all the questions as to their origins. Perhaps gray whales were regular visitors to Babbacombe Bay and Torbay? Perhaps the bones were thrown overboard from a ship returning from the Pacific with unusual mementoes? Who knows?
 P.J.Bryant (1995) Dating remains of gray whales from the eastern North Atlantic. Journal of Mammalogy 76: 857-861.
 J.E.Gray (1865) Notice of a new whalebone whale from the coast of Devonshire, proposed to be called Eschrichtius robustus. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London pages 40-43.
 W.Pengelly (1865) On cetacean remains washed ashore at Babbicombe, South Devon. Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association 1(iv): 86-89.