Los Angeles subway dig finds prehistoric objects

Mar 16, 2014

An exploratory subway shaft dug just down the street from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has uncovered a treasure trove of fossils in the land where saber-tooth cats and other early animals once roamed, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

They include mollusks, asphalt-saturated sand dollars and possibly the mouth of a sea lion dating to 2 million years ago, a time when the Pacific Ocean extended several miles (kilometers) farther inland than it does today.

"Here on the Miracle Mile is where the best record of life from the last great ice age in the world is found," said paleontologist Kim Scott.

The area, dotted today with museums, restaurants, boutiques and apartment buildings, also includes the world-famous La Brea Tar Pits. It was there that mammoths and saber-toothed cats got stuck in the pits' oozing muck, which preserved their skeletons for millennia.

The shaft, dug ahead of work scheduled next year to extend a subway line across LA's west side, is now revealing far more material, including geoducks, clams, snails, mussels and even a 10-foot (3-meter) limb from a pine tree of the type normally now found in central California's woodlands.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is working with Cogstone Resource Management and the nearby George C. Page Museum to identify and preserve the artifacts.

More such discoveries are expected when excavation work begins on a nearby subway station.

"LA's prehistoric past is meeting its future," noted transit authority spokesman Dave Sotero.

Explore further: Paleontologists pioneer laser-beam scanning of dinosaur fossils

Related Stories

Scientists say the American lion is not a lion after all

May 18, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- There has been some debate over the last century or so about whether the extinct American lion, Panthera atrox, which dates from the Pleistocene, is related to present day African lions (Panthera le ...

Calif. utility stumbles on 1.4M years old fossils

Sep 21, 2010

(AP) -- A utility company preparing to build a new substation in an arid canyon southeast of Los Angeles has stumbled on a trove of animal fossils dating back 1.4 million years that researchers say will fill in blanks in ...

Recommended for you

Social media & archaeology—a match not made in heaven

8 hours ago

Archaeologists are avid users of social media, as well as online crowd-based funding and content-sourcing tools—deploying them to save sites, sustain the historic environment and protect history, often ...

Rewriting the history of the Boaz mastodon

13 hours ago

Through a combination of modern-day scientific sleuthing, historical detective work, and a plethora of persistence, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have rewritten the story of a celebrated ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.