Sunday, October 17, 2010

La Brea Tar Pits

Right in the middle of Los Angeles, is the most surprising museum - the site of the La Brea Tar Pits.

A closeup of the border of the museum:
Scientists have recovered fossils here from ice age animals that became trapped and died in the tar pits from 10,000 to 40,000 years ago. No dinosaurs are here - they became extinct 65 million years ago.

A look inside one of the pits on the property, where the colored flags show fossils currently being worked on.

On another part of the property, a mommy mammoth has become trapped in a tar pit, just like her ancestors did. Daddy and baby watch helplessly.

Gas still bubbles up in the tar pits.

Inside the museum is a mural showing the animals that existed in that time period. Some still exist today.

This is the largest of the animals recovered - a Columbian Mammoth can be up to 13 feet high.

This is an American Lion - much bigger than the present day African Lions and the largest lion in history.

In the middle of the museum is a room where scientists and volunteers work on the fossils recovered from the pits.

Over 100 tons of fossil bones have been recovered. Some are very large, as in the previous picture, and some are tiny.

And some are REALLY tiny!


  1. I remember going to La Brea with my dad when I was around 12. The coolest part that I remember was an exhibit where they had a volume of water vs. the same volume of tar. You were able to lift the two containers to feel how heavy the tar was.

    Ah, the things that stick in your mind.

  2. Hi Diana, Good to hear from you. In 1977 I moved from North Carolina to Los Angeles and lived right down the street from the La Brea Tar Pits. The King Tut exhibit was traveling through at the time. Thanks for bringing back warm memories of my young adulthood. I love that museum.

  3. OH fascinating stuff..Im totally a natural history buff so this post was very interesting to me! That shot with the penny alonside those so small relics is amazing..and wouldnt it be amazing if we still had that huge lion roaming around today?

  4. We used to go to the Tar Pits on school trips - a looooong time ago.

  5. If you saw me after I did the oil change on my diesel motor home, you'd swear I cam right out of the tar pits.

    I've always wanted to see the tar pits, ever since I was a little kid. Thanks for the great pictures, you've helped me move the tar pits up higher on my bucket list.

  6. Wow! Are those the actually tar pits or a recreation? Interesting stuff!

  7. I like it with or without the museum. A fascinating place. I loved it when there was a Calder Mobile just a few yards away from the pits in the early 60's.


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