Two Million-Year-Old Sea Lion's Mouth Found Below LA Subway

Cue Jay Leno's opening monologue in his dreams: "Archaeologists are saying they've found prehistoric fossils below a West Side subway station. Well, hey, I thought Elizabeth Taylor was buried in Hollywood! Ho ho ho."

While on a dig seventy feet below Wilshire Boulevard, paleontologist Kim Scott revealed that dinosaurs weren't the only creatures trekking through prehistoric Los Angeles.

Paleontologists have recovered mollusks, asphalt-saturated sand dollars, pieces of driftwood and Monterey cypress cones. For Scott, the most exciting finds have been a rock embedded with what appears to be part of a sea lion's mouth (perhaps 2 million years old) and a non-fossilized 10-foot limb from a digger pine tree that would look right at home today in Central California woodlands.

The images from Scott's team's revealing search can be found at the LA Times, and as writer Martha Groves so deftly put it, the earth has "burped up a bonanza of prehistoric swag." The find is astounding.

The swimming-pool-size shaft, 18 feet wide by 38 feet long, is yielding evidence from its depths of a cooler, wetter Pleistocene climate of 100,000 to 330,000 years ago, when Pacific Ocean waves lapped over what is now the bustling Miracle Mile. Materials from the upper 40 feet of the shaft range from modern era to 50,000 years old. Below that is "near shore" material from 100,000 to at least 330,000 years old, Scott said.

Efforts between the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Page Museum, and Cogstone, where Scott works, are being made to preserve all of the findings. The project began as way to extend the subway line across LA's West Side, but has been slowed for the dig.

[Image via LA Times]