Postcard from... Los Angeles


Click to follow
The Independent Online


When movie stars sink their handprints into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, they may think that they’re leaving a mark on the city’s history. But just a few miles away, researchers are uncovering the remains of some rather more ancient celebrities.

The construction of a new subway line in Los Angeles has uncovered a new trove of prehistoric fossils. Over the weekend, The Los Angeles Times reported the discovery of antediluvian molluscs, sand dollars and what might be the mouth of a two million-year-old sea lion in the Miracle Mile neighbourhood, just south of Hollywood, where the waves of the Pacific Ocean once lapped.

Palaeontologist Kim Scott said: “Here on the Miracle Mile is where the best record of life from the last great ice age in the world is found.”

The neighbourhood is now several miles inland and contains some of LA’s best museums, restaurants and shops. But it is also home to the famous La Brea Tar Pits, a site where sludge from ancient underground oil fields once bubbled up to form bogs, which trapped even large animals and sealed in their skeletons for millennia. Thus researchers have dug up the remains of dire wolves, sabre-toothed tigers and other species in the very centre of the city. Further fossil finds are anticipated during work on a nearby underground station.