Ice-Age Mammoth Fossil Discovered In Los Angeles
Earlier this week, scientists in Los Angeles, California unearthed a near perfect fossil of a Columbian Mammoth, one of the largest elephants species, that became extinct after the Ice Age. The massive creature, which has been named Zed, is believed to have lived in the area about 40,000 years ago.
Zed is particularly exciting, not only because he is the first mammoth found, but also because he is the most complete fossil ever found in the region. His skull, jaw teeth and 3ft. long tusks, as well as, most of his bones, are in near perfect condition. The only parts missing are an hind leg, a vertebra and the top of the skull which was accidentally shaved off during the excavation. Judging from the remains, paleontologists believe that Zed measured three meters tall from the hip, and was between 47-49 years old, when he died.
Similar to the other animals found in the La Brea Tar Pits, Zed's death can also be attributed to fatigue or starvation, after getting trapped in the oil that was oozing from the reserves under the ground.
The fossil remains were found in what has been dubbed Project 23 at the La Brea Tar Pits. in 2006, trying to meet the deadline for an underground parking lot in the area, scientists decided to excavate large pieces of fossil-rich land, and store it in crates - 23 in all. Though it all happened a few years ago, scientists didn't begin excavating through the crates until June 2008.
The La Brea Tar Pits situated in the heart of Los Angeles, is one of the richest sites for Ice-Age deposits in the World and scientists have been excavating here since the early 20th Century. Over the years, over 700 hundred fossils including those of a large pre-historic lion skull, sabre- toothed cats, juvenile horses, bison, coyotes and several small animals have been found - but none have been as complete as this one - and since there are a lot more Project 23 crates left to excavate - stay tuned for additional exciting discoveries from Ice-Age Los Angeles!
Sources: news24.com, abclocal.go.com voa.com