Los Angeles has a couple of tricks left up its sleeve or in this case 10 thousand-year-mammoth fossils. Everytime construction work starts on the Los Angeles Metro Purple Line subway extension, paleontologists grab their equipment and go underground for any potential new discoveries.
Construction of the Metro Purple Line in Los Angeles began in 2014 and over the past three years, the crew working on the project found an array of ancient fossils buried deep under the city of 8 million people. The recent discoveries included a prehistoric rabbit’s jaw, teeth of a mastodon, a camel foreleg, bison vertebrae, a mammoth tusk, tooth and ankle bone from a horse, and the crowning jewels of the collection, the skull of a young mammoth. The Columbian mammoth, whose skull had both tusks still attached, was estimated by researchers to have been between 8 to 12 years old.
Paleontologist, Ashley Leger, is attached to the Metro Purple Line project and was on call to identify the recent discoveries. She is at the ready everytime the construction crew discovers anything that would resemble a fossil.
„They’re making sure that they’re recovering every single fossil that could possibly show up. They call me anytime things are large and we need to lead an excavation.” Said Leger.
The mammoth skull has been relocated to the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum.
Los Angeles had a varied fauna during the last Ice Age which was approximately ten thousand years ago. Wooly mammoth were prevalent in the area as well as sabretooth tigers and dire wolves. Ever since the Purple Line subway expansion began, Ice Age fossils would pop out here and there
The discovery of a mammoth skull, however, is something very unique, according to Dr. Emily Lindsey of the La Brea Tar Pits and Musem. She states that only around 30 mammoth fossils have been found in the Los Angeles area so far.
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