Mammoth skeleton found in LA

2009-02-20 08:48
<b>School children look a the lower jaw of "Zed", a male Colombian mammoth discovered under an old parking lot next to the La Brea tar pits. (Damian Dovarganes, AP)</b>

School children look a the lower jaw of "Zed", a male Colombian mammoth discovered under an old parking lot next to the La Brea tar pits. (Damian Dovarganes, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Los Angeles - The nearly complete skeleton of a massive Columbian mammoth who died during the last ice age has been dug out of a construction site near the La Brea Tar Pits in downtown Los Angeles, a remarkable find even in the fossil-rich area, scientists said.

The mammoth, dubbed "Zed" by researchers at the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, likely died in his late 40s some 40 000 years ago and was found near an unprecedented treasure trove of fossils that workers stumbled upon while digging the foundation for an underground parking garage.

"What makes this so special, so exciting for us is that Zed is a complete specimen," laboratory supervisor Shelley Cox said while showing off his dirt-encrusted, dinner table-sized brown pelvic bone for reporters.

"And he's really big compared to the mammoths we've recovered from La Brea before," Cox said. "The tusks are considerably larger than anything we had expected."

'A rare find'

The Columbian mammoth was a species of elephant that became extinct near the end of the last ice age.

Included in the cache of fossils were some 700 specimens, including a large prehistoric American Lion skull, lion bones, bones from dire wolves, sabre-toothed cats, juvenile horse and bison, teratorn, coyotes, lynx and ground sloths.

The discovery is expected to double the size of the museum's collection.

Though the La Brea Tar Pits, in the city's mid-Wilshire district, are the site of the richest ice age deposits in the world, many fossils pulled out of the dirt and asphalt-like muck are jumbled with other bones. Mammoths are a rare find.

Like all animals discovered at the site, Zed became stuck in a tar pit along a river bed and ultimately died of exhaustion or starvation.

Skeleton '80% complete'

Researchers believe his skeleton remained largely intact because soon after he died he was washed away by a flood and then covered by enough sediment, sand and debris to keep predators from making off with parts of the carcass.

They estimate his skeleton is 80 percent complete, missing only a hind leg and a vertebrae. While most mammoth tusks, which are made up of fragile material called dentine, are only found in small chunks, Zed's are intact and a remarkable 10-feet long.

Examination of Zed's bones shows he was between 47 and 49 years old, suffered from arthritis and had broken three ribs during his lifetime, possibly in fights with other mammoths.

Carbon dating is expected to show he lived between 38 000 and 42 000 years ago and had long lain under a department store parking garage.

NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 16:15 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights - Allow Extra Tavel Time
  • Friday Kuils River - 09:28 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The day may have a fluctuating sensitive energy to begin with, but later when the Moon moves into dramatic and creative Leo you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.