Fossils Including That of Monster Sloth Unearthed at LA Metro Construction Site

Fossils Including That of Monster Sloth Unearthed at LA Metro Construction Site

News Staff

Fossils continue to be unearthed at the construction sites for the new Metro Purple Line stations.

The future Wilshire/ La Cienega station is the most fossil fertile, with bones being unearthed almost every day, LA Metro Media Relations said.

Some of the finds at the site include ancient bones from camels, mammoths, and ground sloths.

Thousands of years ago camels were native to the LA area, and the ancient ground sloths weighed 1,500 to 3,000 pounds.

The subway construction goes underneath Wilshire Boulevard from Koreatown to Beverly Hills. This area is something of a “fossil factory,” known around the world for being a rich paleo-zone.

The other two stations in Section 1 of the extension project, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Brea, have also become sites of fossil finds. The skull of an ancient antelope and an arm bone from a sea otter were found at these locations.

When paleontologists discover a fossil during excavation, they can temporarily halt construction until they’re able to preserve and remove the findings. The temporary diversion does not impact the ultimate delivery of the project, which is set to open in 2023.

When these bones are found, they are carefully preserved and given either to the La Brea Tar Pits Museum or the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park.

LA Metro Media Relations Manager Dave Sotero said these finds are rare, so it’s exciting when a fossil is discovered.

“Only about one percent of the living creatures that have inhabited the planet ever reach a fossilized state,” Sotero said.

Sotero said the biggest surprise has been that “we haven’t found more fossils at Wilshire/Fairfax, which is closer to the La Brea Tarpits.”