Workers discover ancient sloth fossil in LA

The large hip joint is believed to be between 40,000 and 11,000 years old

Workers discover ancient sloth fossil in LA

The fossilised bones of a Harlan's Ground Sloth from a previous discovery on display in Los Angeles. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Workmen digging a new train line have had an "amazing discovery" after they unearthed a giant sloth bone in Los Angeles.

The large hip joint is believed to be from a Harlan's Ground Sloth that would have lived between 40,000 and 11,000 years ago.

The ancient mammal's bone was found 16ft below Crenshaw Boulevard - a major LA thoroughfare.

The animal would have been up to 10ft long and weighed around 1,500lbs (680kg) - the same as a cow.

A spokesman for the city's metro system said: "This is an amazing discovery."

A fragment of ancient bison bone was also discovered in the same sandy clay layer.

Now a hub for the world's entertainment industry, the LA lowland would have been full of sloths, bison, ancient camels, mastodons and mammoths during the late Pleistocene era.

But following a series of ice ages - as the glaciers melted and froze - many large mammals in North America became extinct 10,000 years ago, while humans continued to evolve.

Earlier this year, LA workmen found bones belonging to an ancient camel and a mastodon and mammoth during a dig to extend another train line beneath Wilshire Boulevard, around 15 miles away.

The fossils will soon be transferred, possibly for display at LA's Natural History Museum.