This Exhibit Lets You Tour LA — When It Was Underwater And Populated With Giant Sea Creatures
Picture Lincoln Heights. But with sharks the size of school buses, glowing deep-sea fish and giant whales swimming around.
That was the case millions of years ago. And now you can get a glimpse of L.A. as it was in prehistoric times, complete with life-size recreations of some of those ancient sea creatures, at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum's new exhibit, L.A. Underwater.
Visitors can see rare fossils from a time when even today's tallest skyscrapers would have been submerged, according to curator Austin Hendy. L.A. only became dry around 100,000 years ago, and while that may seem like a long time for humans, Hendy said, “geologically, that’s a blink of an eyelid.”
Some of the fossils on display were dug up over the years in local back yards by everyday people.
"There's this scientific theme of L.A. underwater and also this local cultural theme about connecting communities around Los Angeles with collections that we have from those places, and everyday Angelenos making discoveries…everybody can be a scientist. I'm a great believer in that,” he said.
While the city is covered with roads and infrastructure blanketing once-exposed geology, Hendy said there is a lot of construction activity that continually reveals new findings.
This spring, dive into @NHMLA's newest multimedia-rich, immersive exhibition L.A. Underwater. Discover L.A.’s prehistoric past through the stories of nearly 40 fossils that are uncovering the secrets of our submerged prehistory. Learn more: https://t.co/8JljanHss7 pic.twitter.com/VgWC12bKvV— Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) May 3, 2022
"We have a lot of fossils in our collection, coming from both historic excavations of the Metro lines, but also continuing today at the purple line extension that runs past the La Brea Tar Pits, for instance, [which] is excavating a lot of interesting fossils,” he said.
And Hendy said this is just the beginning. He said he hopes this exhibit serves as the "building block" for an even larger exhibit that will explore L.A.'s relationship with the ocean.