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  CA La Brea tar pits

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Added in: august 2006
Last Modified in: august 2006

Geology site description:

In the middle of the city of Los Angeles in California, you can visit the excavations at the La Brea Tar pits. The pools of tar form because oil seeps upwards through cracks. The light components evaporate, and the tar remains. In the semi liquid tar, many species of birds and mammals got stuck in the Pleistocene (part of the Quaternary period). The are now found as fossils, and give us insight in the animal life in Califonia between 40.000 and 8.000 years ago.

More than 90% of the found animals are predators or scavengers. Probably these animals were attraced by stuck animals, and they became stuck themselves in the tar.

More than 50 species of mammals (i.e. horses, camels, mammoth, bison, sabertooth tigers), and more than 135 species of birds have been found. Also plants, insects, and mollusks have been found.

The first excavations took place in 1901. The excavations still continue to this day. Next to the excavation site, you can visit the Page museum of La Brea Discoveries. Here you can see a large number of the found fossils. See also http://www.tarpits.org/

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The La Brea tar pits are located in the city of Los Angeles (Hancock Park) in the U.S. state of California.

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Other locations in the area
Society: Southern California Paleontological Society: Page Museum

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