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La Brea Tar Pits

Listed under Prehistoric Archaeological Sites in Los Angeles, United States.

  • Photo of La Brea Tar Pits
  • Photo of La Brea Tar Pits
  • Photo of La Brea Tar Pits
  • Photo of La Brea Tar Pits
  • Photo of La Brea Tar Pits
Photo of La Brea Tar Pits
Photo by flickr user betsyweber
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In the heart of Los Angeles are California’s La Brea Tar Pits. The pits are geological sites where subterranean bitumen or tar leaked to the earth’s surface for tens of thousands of years. Animals often used the pits as waterholes because they would collect pools of water at the surface. The soft, tar bottoms of the pit, however, trapped many of the animals who drank from them. The tar has unique preservation qualities, so the animals who were trapped have become some of the country’s most prized fossils – many of which date back to the Ice Age. Because of this uniqueness, the La Brea Tar Pits are registered as a National Natural Landmark.

The best place to view and learn about the tar pits is California’s Page Museum. The museum’s primary goals are research and display. Visitors can see the tar pits themselves and learn their intriguing story. Several life-size models of prehistoric animals are housed in the museum, and each summer visitors can watch paleontologists excavate the enclosed Pit 91.

Written by  Christine Fisher.

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