The La Brea tar pits


Los Angeles is such a unique city in so many ways, and it’s about so much more than just Hollywood. The City of Angels is one of the leading cities in the United States, a hub of culture, iconography, advancement, entertainment, and history. It is also the home of the famous La Brea Tar Pits, a group of tar pits found in and around Hancock Park.

These were formed over thousands of years, as a result of asphalt seeping up from the ground. The tar has also fossilized the remains of many animals over the years, preserving them, and adding another dimension to these already fascinating pits. There is also a museum here that you can visit – so here are some of the amazing things you never knew about these tar pits.

The La Brea tar pits

A hotbed of fossils

We talked earlier about how the tar has preserved and fossilized the remains of many creatures and animals over the years. Well, what you probably didn’t know was the fact that there have been more than 3.5 million fossils discovered in these pits over the years. And more than 600 different species of animals have been discovered as well, including snakes, sloths, and mountain lions! And it is estimated that around 90% of all the animals found in the tar pits were carnivorous.

Digs still happen

Because this place is such a hotbed for fossils, and there are so many great discoveries taking place here, it’s no wonder that paleontologists are still digging here on a regular basis. In fact, these digs take place almost every day of the year, and they are still finding new fossils, as well as stunning discoveries. This is a place of active scientific research, and there are plenty of reasons to continue with digs and excavations here as often as possible.

The pits have preserved entire ecosystems

These pits are so stunning that, not only have they preserved fossilized creatures, but ecosystems as well. Paleontologists have discovered plant matter, insects, and even fossils of pollen as well! This is one of the only sites in the world where scientists would be able to find entire ecosystems wonderfully preserved in the tar. This is crucial for finding out much more information about the larger ecosystem and answering more pertinent questions.

The La Brea tar pits

A human skeleton was found there

Because of the nature of tar pits, you would think they are death traps, and that numerous people would have fallen in and died over the years. But, in reality, there has only been one human skeleton found in the Las Brea Tar Pits, and this was discovered in 1914! This skeleton was thought to have been more than 9,000 years-old! In spite of the numerous creatures, fossils, and ecosystems still found here, this remains the only human skeleton.

These tar pits are pretty stunning, and they hold all manner of secrets and historical information that needs to be discovered. So many of the amazing discoveries that paleontologists have made over the past couple of decades can be traced back to these tar pits. They are a hugely important and fascinating part of LA, and we feel you need to go see them when you get the chance.