After three years’ back-breaking work archaeologists are finally, painstakingly revealing the face of Zed, the ice age mammoth, unearthed in the so-called La Brea Tar Pits, one of the world’s most famous fossil sites. The 80% complete skeleton is the prize find in a fossil treasure trove discovered on a Los Angeles building site in June 2006, when workmen digging for a new parking lot stumbled on the prehistoric beast’s skull. The size and width of Zed’s teeth indicate that he was a male, and wear patterns on his teeth suggest that he was between 48 and 50 years old when he died.
“The Zed deposit was actually found by a bulldozer, by a piece of heavy equipment that took off the top six inches of his skull,” said Trevor Valle of the Page Museum. “But at least they stopped before they went any further. It was better to hit a somewhat simpler area of the head than say take out the teeth or the tusks.”