Construction Workers Dig Up a 10,000-Year-Old Secret Under the Subway System in Los Angeles

Last updated: Sep 19, 2023

Like many major cities, Los Angeles has an efficient underground subway system that gets many passengers to their destinations daily. And like many other major cities, its subway system manages to keep up with the number of passengers. 

During a recent subway expansion project, construction crews stumbled upon an extraordinary find that stunned the scientific community. Let’s dive into the remarkable discovery hidden beneath the City of Angels.

Surprising Find During Subway Expansion

On July 14, 1990, the Los Angeles Metro Rail commenced its operations, and the number of subway users grew as the city continued to grow. To keep up with the increasing demand, the LA Metropolitan Transportation Authority launched an expansion project to extend the Purple Line subway and add three underground train stations.


Source: Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The project was massive, but no one anticipated the astonishing find it would lead to. To them, it was just a regular big-city project.

A Prehistoric Surprise

Deep beneath the bustling streets of modern-day Los Angeles, an ancient secret lay buried for thousands of years. The construction crews unearthed this hidden treasure while excavating the new subway extension.


Source: Mark Boster/ Getty Images

To ensure the discovery was thoroughly examined, paleontologists were called in to assess the findings. Also, California’s law states that any construction that requires extensive digging has to be supervised by paleontologists.

Hayden the Mammoth

Right in the middle of the painstaking excavation process, a breathtaking sight emerged—a young mammoth skull, an incredibly rare and extraordinary find. Dr. Ashley Leger, a paleontologist present at the site, couldn’t contain her excitement and named the mammoth “Hayden.”


Source: Krafft Angerer/ Getty Images

Ashley never expected to come across an extremely rare artifact that became the most significant find of her career. In remarkably good condition, the skull is slated for display at the Natural History Museum at Exposition Park.

Unveiling Southern California's Ice Age History

Beyond Hayden the mammoth, the subway expansion project yielded other fascinating fossils, including remains of dire wolves and artifacts from ancient human civilizations. These discoveries provide invaluable insights into Southern California’s Ice Age history, vividly depicting the region’s distant past.


Source: Pashmina/ Pinterest

The subway expansion project enhanced the city’s transportation network and unearthed an astonishing chronicle of its ancient heritage. The discovery of Hayden the mammoth and the other fossils are a once-in-a-lifetime find that has changed the lives of the construction workers, Dr. Ashley, and everyone else involved in the project.