A nearly intact mammoth, dubbed Zed, is among the remarkable discoveries near the La Brea tar pits. It’s the largest known repository of Pleistocene ice age fossils.

Volunteer Judy Scharf, left, assistant lab supervisor Trevor Valle and volunteers Pat Simun and Linda Wright carefully brush away dirt surrounding the pelvis of a mammoth at the Page Museum in Rancho La Brea. The mammoth, which museum researchers have named Zed, is among a colossal cache of fossils unearthed along L.A.'s Miracle Mile.

Volunteer Judy Scharf, left, assistant lab supervisor Trevor Valle and volunteers Pat Simun and Linda Wright carefully brush away dirt surrounding the pelvis of a mammoth at the Page Museum in Rancho La Brea. The mammoth, which museum researchers have named Zed, is among a colossal cache of fossils unearthed along L.A.'s Miracle Mile.

D.Blawg Says: OHHHH! This is SO COOOOOL!

Workers excavating an underground garage on the site of an old May Co. parking structure in Los Angeles’ Hancock Park got more than just a couple hundred new parking spaces. They found the largest known cache of fossils from the last ice age, an assemblage that has flabbergasted paleontologists.

Researchers from the George C. Page Museum at the La Brea tar pits have barely begun extracting the fossils from the sandy, tarry matrix of soil, but they expect the find to double the size of the museum’s collection from the period, already the largest in the world.

Among their finds, to be formally announced today, is the nearly intact skeleton of a Columbian mammoth — named Zed by researchers — a prize discovery because only bits and pieces of mammoths had previously been found in the tar pits.

The entire Rancho La Brea area at Hancock Park is a paleontological treasure chest. Petroleum from the once-massive underground oil fields oozed to the surface over the millennia, forming bogs that trapped and killed unsuspecting animals and then preserved their skeletons. It is now a protected site, although dispensation was granted to build the new garage.

Because of the historic nature of the area, the work had to be overseen by a salvage archaeologist…

“I knew we would find fossils . . . but I never expected to find so many deposits,” Turner said. “There was an absolutely remarkable quantity and quality.”

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Andrea Thomer, an excavator for George C. Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, stands next to the prehistoric bones of an American lion, a coyote and a young horse. These and other species yet to be identified were unearthed from beneath a former May Co. parking lot on the Miracle Mile.

Andrea Thomer, an excavator for George C. Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, stands next to the prehistoric bones of an American lion, a coyote and a young horse. These and other species yet to be identified were unearthed from beneath a former May Co. parking lot on the Miracle Mile.

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