Subject: La Brea Tar Pits
I am learning about fossils in school. I would like to know if the La Brea Tar Pits still exist. Can you please give me some information on the La Brea Tar Pits? If you also have some interesting or unusual facts on fossils, could you please send them too?
Yes, the La Brea Tar Pits are alive and well. If you ever visit Los Angeles, you can take a walking tour of the pits, as well as examine some of the fossils that have been removed from there. These fossils are Pleistocene in age (meaning 10,000 to 1,600,000 years old). Masatdons and sabre tooth tiger remains have been removed from the pits. A common misconception about the La Brea Tar pits is that they contain Dinosaur bones. They don't. The dinosaurs went extint much earlier in Earth history (on or about 65 million years ago). In fact, the rocks where the La Brea Tar pits sit aren't even as old as this. Today, the tar pits are surounded by a nice park which sits very close to the Los Angeles County museum of art. When you walk through the area, you can smell the wet tar and oil of the pits. Its seems hard to imagine but most scientists believe that so many animal remains have been found in the pits because the animals confused them for water holes and were lured in by their desire for a drink of fresh water.
Dr. Ken Rubin, Assistant Professor
Department of Geology and Geophysics
University of Hawaii, Honolulu HI 96822