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Ice Age Fossils Found During Los Angeles Subway Exploration

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the global-warming-has-since-occurred dept.

Earth 64

An anonymous reader writes "During an exploratory dig to extend one of L.A.'s subway lines (yes! Los Angeles actually does have an underground), a host of fossils from the Ice Age were uncovered, including the skull of a sea lion. The dig site is close to the La Brea Tar Pits, where the preserved remains of various plants and animals were discovered in the early 1900s. The La Brea Tar Pit fossils are estimated to be between 11,000-55,000 years old, and the most common animals found were dire wolves."

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the most common animals were dire wolves (1, Offtopic)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 6 months ago | (#46443469)

winter is coming!

Re:the most common animals were dire wolves (1)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | about 6 months ago | (#46443575)

So that means that during the last ice age there'd have been a big Wolfswood sign up where the Hollywood sign is now?

Re:the most common animals were dire wolves (2)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 6 months ago | (#46444109)

Not exactly. It was a Hollywolf sign, actually.

This is cool but let's not delay commuter rail (1)

kriston (7886) | about 6 months ago | (#46443489)

This is cool but let's not delay commuter rail and subway construction.

Re:This is cool but let's not delay commuter rail (1)

Threni (635302) | about 6 months ago | (#46443791)

Delay it a little bit until all the important archaeological items have been safely extracted, surely? They've been there millions of years; another few months/years won't hurt.

Re:This is cool but let's not delay commuter rail (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 6 months ago | (#46444835)

But think of all the horribly delayed & self important LA-ians!

Not millions of years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46444857)

The last ice age wasn't millions of years ago. Those bones are fairly new.

Re:This is cool but let's not delay commuter rail (1)

milkmage (795746) | about 6 months ago | (#46445781)

DELAYED.

they found a ship while excavating downtown San Francisco a few years back. construction stopped until the archaeologists had their fill.

it's not like a sailing ship from the late 1800's is Noah's Ark.. but they still took all they could find.

Re:This is cool but let's not delay commuter rail (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about 6 months ago | (#46446267)

I live along Wilshire, the street on (or rather, under) which they're building this subway, the Purple Line extension [wikipedia.org] . They just started a couple months ago. The first stage of the project is currently planned to last 9 years, which will cover 4 miles. A bit of trivia, it only took only ten years for the US to dig the 48 mile Panama canal through jungle and mountainous terrain. (To be fair, the French had already done about 15% of the excavation when the US acquired the project, but that ten year time span includes reviewing the plans and deciding to take a different approach.)

They're currently trying to get a permit to do 24 hour construction, i only know about this because there have been people going around the neighborhood trying to get everyone to sign a petition to block the permit. The people pushing the petition are trying to make it sound like there would be construction going on 24 hours a day every day for the full 9 years. I'm sure that's not actually the case, for if no other reason than if they were doing 24 hour construction every day it would almost certainly take less than 9 years. However LA hasn't made it very clear how much time, if any, they expect to cut off the deadline if they do get the permit.

TLDR: The project is already scheduled to take forever. I don't think it really matters if they stop for awhile to take a look at some fossils. In fact if they're at least halfway competent they could probably work on another section while the fossils are being excavated.

Re:This is cool but let's not delay commuter rail (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 6 months ago | (#46449733)

More likely it involves schedule juggling so the contractor can increase their margins, and would not impact the timeline at all.

This recently came up in my town, when push came to shove regarding the permit, the contractor ended up admitting the timeline for the project would be the same if they work at 4am or wait until 7am. But it would save them money. In this case it would have meant less hours running some sort of concrete dryer. So we decided that they should have planned to start at the locally allowed time, and denied their special use permit.

So it very well could mean 24/7 noise and work, and still take the full time. You should expect that is the case unless the contractor put something else in writing. And even then, check what local lawyers say about the wording.

Delay is unlikely to be significant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46453833)

A paleontological dig like this is likely to cause only a minor delay, particularly considering it is in a soft matrix and contains species that are well-understood.

Now if they run into a mass human grave as the Playa Vista [wikipedia.org] project near the airport did, that would be a different story. That caused a delay of about a decade!

Underground? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 6 months ago | (#46443501)

Actually, most of LA's subways are above ground.

Re:Underground? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443569)

not a subway if it is above ground

Re:Underground? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 6 months ago | (#46443891)

Ironically it might be still a subway. London and Berlin, two towns with very large subway systems, have them running in part above ground. And they are still called subways. It would be strange if a transport system changes names when it leaves a tunnel and changes it again when it enters the next one, as it happens several times on some lines in Berlin or London.

Re:Underground? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443909)

Berlin does have different names. U-Bahn, the underground and S-Bahn, the above ground metropolitan train system.

London on the other hand is definitely called the tube, or the underground no matter where you are. The english are stubborn people.

Re:Underground? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 6 months ago | (#46444005)

Yes, there is the Berlin S-Bahn, but that's a completely different track system, and that's not what I am talking about.

Take the U2 [wikipedia.org] for instance, it is a line listed as U-Bahn (as you can see from the line number). It runs above ground from Ruhleben to Olympiastadion. Then it disappears in a tunnel until Wittenbergplatz. There it goes up a ramp, and then runs as elevated railway until Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park, where it goes down again in a tunnel. At Eberswalder Strasse, it appears again above ground and runs on an elevated railway along Schoenhauser Allee for two stops, and then disappears again in a tunnel until the terminal.

Re:Underground? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 6 months ago | (#46444111)

I just read the Wikipedia entry again, it seems to be a horrible attempt at automatically translating the german entry. You can tell from the fact that the station Kaiserdamm is called "Emperor dam", and that "Olympische Strasse" is still in the german grammar form ("Olympischen Strasse") of the original german sentence.

Re:Underground? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 6 months ago | (#46444475)

Both of the subway's in this town are above ground, at least the part where you go and order is - there might be some food storage areas in the basement or something.

Re:Underground? (1)

mendax (114116) | about 6 months ago | (#46443747)

Actually, most of LA's subways are above ground.

You are probably confusing the subway with the trolley lines and the Metro Link trains, all of which run above ground for the most part.

Re:Underground? (1)

Barsteward (969998) | about 6 months ago | (#46443763)

So is london's but only just. 55% of it is above ground

Re:Underground? (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 6 months ago | (#46443975)

Actually, most of LA's subways are above ground.

Damn! I was about to make a H. G. Wells reference :)

Re:Underground? (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 6 months ago | (#46445039)

Actually, most of LA's subways are above ground.

So, they are just "ways"? It's almost like someone said "Hey, let's take the buses and put them on tracks!"

Re:Underground? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 6 months ago | (#46449805)

subway, well, it is below something. It isn't like they're called sub-street ways. Subways gives a lot of latitude.

Also, what if one end is underground? Then it would still be a sub-ground way, at least enough to join the set.

"That belongs in a museum" ..."So do you" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443503)

NT

Sea Lion head? (2)

mendax (114116) | about 6 months ago | (#46443513)

This is very interesting. You aren't going to find clams and sea lion heads in the La Brea tar pits. The most unusual thing I can recall they've found in there was a human skeleton of a native American woman who was bashed on the head and her body dumped in a pit.

Re:Sea Lion head? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46444033)

This is very interesting. You aren't going to find clams and sea lion heads in the La Brea tar pits. The most unusual thing I can recall they've found in there was a human skeleton of a native American woman who was bashed on the head and her body dumped in a pit.

Hopefully they find my boyfriend Bob there, he's late getting back with that pack of cigarettes he went to get.

Re:Sea Lion head? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 6 months ago | (#46445701)

Finding a sea lion head surprised me considering how much lower sea levels were at the time.

Re:Sea Lion head? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#46447959)

Finding a sea lion head surprised me considering how much lower sea levels were at the time.

Pretty sure they've always been at sea level... :)

Re:Sea Lion head? (1)

skatull (166201) | about 6 months ago | (#46446369)

Were her last words "Don't murder me, I beg of you Don't murder me, please, don't murder me"?

ice (0)

Erik Luiz Alves de Almeida (3569999) | about 6 months ago | (#46443515)

ice ice ice

Re:ice (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about 6 months ago | (#46444897)

baby

Re:ice (1)

Quandell (3511345) | about 6 months ago | (#46452805)

domdomdomdididomdom :)

Fossil? (4, Funny)

mjwx (966435) | about 6 months ago | (#46443557)

However upon closer inspection, they found out the fossil was just Keith Richards who had wandered into the construction site.

Re:Fossil? (5, Funny)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 6 months ago | (#46443649)

He befriended some other fossils there and now plans to form a new group : The Strolling Bones

Volcano (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443559)

Hasn't the world learned anything from Volcano (1997)?

You can't build subway tunnels near the La Brea Tar Pits, it's a recipe for disaster!

Hipster Fossils.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443601)

They lived in LA before it was cool

Re: Hipster Fossils.. (1)

James Ruiz (3570201) | about 6 months ago | (#46443741)

They lived in LA before it was LA!

Re:Hipster Fossils.. (1)

Buck Feta (3531099) | about 6 months ago | (#46444789)

They lived in LA before it was cool

These are Ice Age fossils... trust me, when they lived there, LA was very cool.

Visit the Tar Pits museum, if you can (4, Informative)

GPS Pilot (3683) | about 6 months ago | (#46443653)

It's an amazing place. They have a large wall covered with dire wolf skulls, just to show off how many dire wolf skeletons have been dug up.

Re:Visit the Tar Pits museum, if you can (4, Informative)

mendax (114116) | about 6 months ago | (#46443767)

It's an amazing place. They have a large wall covered with dire wolf skulls, just to show off how many dire wolf skeletons have been dug up.

It is an amazing place and easy to get to without a car. They also have either a woolly mammoth, a mastodon, or both on display, or did the last time I was there. The museum is evidence that the Los Angeles area was a kind of Garden of Eden during the last Ice Age. Of course, every Eden has to have its serpent to spoil it. In that place, the serpent was the saber-toothed lion.

And while you're there, the county art museum is next door if you like that kind of thing.

Re:Visit the Tar Pits museum, if you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46448691)

the Los Angeles area was a kind of Garden of Eden during the last Ice Age.

Wow, that recently?

Re:Visit the Tar Pits museum, if you can (1)

ignavus (213578) | about 6 months ago | (#46452225)

It is an amazing place and easy to get to without a car.

A lot of animals certainly discovered how easy it was to get to without a car.

Re:Visit the Tar Pits museum, if you can (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 6 months ago | (#46444167)

What is special about La Brea tar pits is that they get multiple specimens of the same species, males, females, juveniles, old and young. They get complete skeletons instead of a few disjoint pieces. They are chronically short of funds. They have dug up huge blocks which are presently sitting covered in tarps because they don't have the resources to properly pry the fossils off these blocks. Earlier they used to discard the "matrix" and go after the big bones. Now they realize the matrix has tons and tons of microfossils, pollen grains etc. That realization has slowed down the speed at which they work on these blocks.

The least the producers of the Big Bang Theory could have done is to pay some decent fees to the museum and written an episode to place inside the museum. Those cheapskates just had one scene outside in the bus stop and a stuffed toy from the museum.

Re:Visit the Tar Pits museum, if you can (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 6 months ago | (#46444447)

The least the producers of the Big Bang Theory could have done is to pay some decent fees to the museum and written an episode to place inside the museum. Those cheapskates just had one scene outside in the bus stop and a stuffed toy from the museum.

It is possible (however unlikely it may be), that they tried to film on location and they would not grant them access for some reason other than financial reasons. I am sure there are all sorts of restrictions and limitations on what they allow, and perhaps that was the issue instead of money? Who knows.

Re:Visit the Tar Pits museum, if you can (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 6 months ago | (#46444239)

Considering how ubiquitous they are, one would imagine that would be a great candidate for DNA mining, retrieval, reassembly, and ultimately, recreation.

Re:Visit the Tar Pits museum, if you can (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 6 months ago | (#46446497)

They have a large wall covered with dire wolf skulls, just to show off how many dire wolf skeletons have been dug up.

Hey, do the Starks know about this?

(gimme a break here: the new season is just about to start)

PUSSY DESTROYERS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443753)

Vote for Pedro

http://i.imgur.com/C29Dx2v.jpg [imgur.com]

Re:PUSSY DESTROYERS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443777)

mod parent up! greatest band ever!

I know abt LA subways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443771)

I know LA has subways. See movie 'Volcano'

Did they also find... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443811)

...the A-Team, or did they get away again?

EQ? (1)

kauaidiver (779239) | about 6 months ago | (#46443827)

My ranger used to kite dire-wolves... And my tree-hugging druid too.

frosty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443925)

piss

Dig Dig Dig (1)

BeckyAEllis (3509867) | about 6 months ago | (#46443955)

Dig more along the stretch. I guess you'll find a lot more down there. But get a lil bit faster the railway has been clogged.

do you just not pay attention? (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 months ago | (#46444019)

I know this is offtopic but its worth mentioning. In Los Angeles we've had a subway and heavy rail transit system in existence for 21 years. since 1993. the survey is for the next phase of the expo line.

Proof of Global Warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46444089)

See? This is absolute proof of global warming. Al Gore was RIGHT!

What's a tree box? (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 6 months ago | (#46444177)

... crated with wooden planks into tree boxes ...

Dear Page Museum: No website feedback link/address, no correction notification.

La Raza announced they were Mexican (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 6 months ago | (#46444185)

And told the subway to leave its illegal occupation

Another Test From God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46444909)

Go ahead, believe the overwhelming scientific evidence. My Bible, through my narrow and specific interpretation, tells me it's all lies.

I'll be damned (2)

wcrowe (94389) | about 6 months ago | (#46444961)

I didn't know dire wolves were real. I just thought it was some BS that George R. R. Martin came up with.

Re:I'll be damned (2)

The_Human_Diversion (3564171) | about 6 months ago | (#46446695)

I didn't know dire wolves were real. I just thought it was some BS that George R. R. Martin came up with.

Of course they're real, they're large 5 hit die creatures that have a bite attack and can trip with that attack. You often see druids and rangers taking them as animal companions.

Re:I'll be damned (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about 6 months ago | (#46446865)

I didn't know dire wolves were real. I just thought it was some BS that George R. R. Martin came up with.

Of course they're real, they're large 5 hit die creatures that have a bite attack and can trip with that attack. You often see druids and rangers taking them as animal companions.

And Jerry Garcia even wrote about them. Of course they're real

In the backwash of Fennario
The black and bloody mire
The dire wolf collects his due
While the boys sing 'round the fire

Don't murder me, I beg of you
Don't murder me, please, don't murder me

You guys know what a dire wolf is, right? (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about 6 months ago | (#46445359)

It's like a wolf, but dire.

Reference alert... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46445981)

I'm sorry, sir, this is a private-- Oh, pardon me, I see you're with Mr. Stallone.

There are no La Brea Tar Pits in Scotland! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46447837)

Scotland? Eh, what's up, MacDoc?
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