Fossils Belonging To Camel, Huge Elephant Found During Purple Line Construction
One of the cool things about building subways is that you'll find a lot of strange artifacts in the ground. For instance, in 2014, a dig for the London Crossrail uncovered a set of skeletons that were believed to belong to victims of the Black Death. Way gnarly.
Metro just made a (less macabre) discovery earlier this month: excavation crews working on the Purple Line extension unearthed fossils belonging to a pair of extinct animals. The first finding happened on April 12, when they found what is believed to be a 36-inch long femur belonging to an Ice Age elephant, possibly a mammoth or a mastodon, reports the L.A. Times. The next day, the crew found a 20-inch-long forearm belonging to an extinct species of camel. These discoveries were made at the future station at Wilshire and La Brea Avenue in Miracle Mile (looks like the animals barely escaped the gaping maw of the La Brea tar pits).
As noted at The Source—Metro's blog—camels actually originated in North America about 45 million years ago. “It is surprising to most people that camels were once native to Southern California,” said Dr. Ashley Leger, a field director for Cogstone Resource Management, which oversees paleontological matters for the subway project. “Camel bones are quite rare in the fossil record of our area. We are very excited about what we might discover next in this fossil-rich area.”
This isn't the first time that the Purple Line has turned up some old bones. In late 2016, crews found a three-foot piece of a tusk and tooth fragments belonging to either a mastodon or mammoth. Perhaps it's only a matter of time until we find Brendan Fraser encased in a block of ice.
Check out this video of the recent find:
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that one of the fossils may belong to a woolly mammoth, specifically. It would be more accurate to say that it may belong to a mammoth.