The expansion of Los Angeles' Metro purple line has unearthed over 500 fossils, including some from the Ice Age. Paleontologists and Metro officials showed off their newly acquired artifacts today at the La Brea Tar Pits.
Metro's construction, which plans to add seven stops and nine miles of rail to the purple line from Koreatown to West LA, has given paleontologists a better look at what life may have been like some 10,000 years ago.
"We had an idea that we would find some fossils," said Kasey Shuda, the senior manager of construction relations for the purple line expansion. "That's why we made sure there were paleontologists in our environmental report."
The paleontological field director for Cogstone Resource Management, Ashley Leger, said the discovery teaches us about the history of the area.
"It's interesting to get a glance outside of the tar pits and see what the rest of Los Angeles and Southern California was like," Leger said. "We learn so much about the Ice Age just from the fossils being found."
The discovered fossils will all go on display at the Los Angeles National History Museum. The fossils discovered include giant ground sloths, mammoths and bison. The most rare discovery was the "Hayden" fossil, a nearly complete skull of a juvenile Columbian Mammoth, which was found at the Wilshire/La Brea stop in section one.
In order to ensure that fossils are not carelessly damaged during excavation, a team of monitors are on the ground and underground, when construction is taking place.
"Anytime there is active excavation, some of our staff is there on hand watching the sediment move," field director Ashley Leger said. "When anything is found they can immediately retrieve it."
When a fossil is found the excavation team is able to dynamically divert work to another section of the subway, so that production isn't completely halted.
The excavation of section one is nearly completed and work on section two is expected to begin soon. The entire expansion project is expected to be completed in 2026.