Fossil from giant bison species found during Purple Line Extension construction

The recent bison horn found at Wilshire/La Cienega Station. Credit: LA Metro.

Some more fossil-related news from the team building the Purple Line Extension:

A piece of a horn that is believed to be from an extinct species known as a long-horned bison (Bison latifrons) was recently found during work excavating the future Wilshire/La Cienega Station in eastern Beverly Hills, Cogstone paleontologists announced Friday. Cogstone is the paleontological firm hired by Metro to identify and preserve fossils found during subway construction.

While bison remains have been found previously during the work, this appears to be the first from a long-horned Bison, which were significantly larger than modern day bison found in places such as Yellowstone National Park. Some of these type of bison have massive horns with some fossil specimens measuring over three-feet long. The new find from Wilshire/La Cienega Station is not quite that long but still extends over two feet — that’s longer than any other bison horn found thus far on the project.

Long-horned bison are believed to have become extinct about toward the end of the most recent Ice Age, about 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. These type of bison were one many large mammals that went extinct during that era — a list that includes mammoths, mastodons, camels, saber-tooth cats and sloths.

This long-horned bison specimen has been nicknamed “Andy” is undergoing preparation and stabilization work at Cogstone’s laboratory so that it can be studied in detail before its final journey to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Fossils can be rare and can provide a brief snapshot of life in the past. With each new discovery, the picture of the past becomes more detailed. Cogstone officials say they’re pleased and excited to add to that story by documenting the presence of multiple types of bison living in southern California during the Pleistocene.

The skeleton of a bison latifrons as seen in a museum. Photo by James St. John via Flickr Creative Commons. Click above for link to Flickr.



5 replies

  1. love this it is amazing and for me to show my grandchildren

  2. Off the topic, but what happened to the InSite Wireless completing the tunnel coverage until North Hollywood – it reaches Vine for now. Weren’t they closing stations on the Red Line last year so they can finish the project?

    • Hi Joe,

      Some carriers have completed equipment installation and are testing signal strength (AT&T). We don’t have an update on the other carriers yet, but are working to get more info. No stations were closed for this project — it was/is incorporated into part of the regular maintenance we conduct along the line.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer ,The Source