La Brea Tar Pits
La Brea Tar Pits Page
La Brea Tar Pits
Ice Age Fossil Dig Site

Posted October 2021


ight in the heart of L.A. sits the world's most powerful gateway to the Ice Age.

  • The asphalt seeps at La Brea Tar Pits are the only active urban fossil dig site in the world.
  • Plants and animals from the last 50,000 years are discovered there every day.
  • On display are extraordinary saber-toothed cats, mammoths, dire wolves, and mastodons, as well as the tiny, but scientifically significant, microfossils of insects, plants, mammals, and reptiles.
  • The Tar Pits help understand life around Wilshire Boulevard long before we got here.
  • Since 1906, more than one million bones have been recovered representing over 231 species of vertebrates.
  • In addition, 159 species of plants and 234 species of invertebrates have been identified.
  • It is estimated that the collections at the La Brea Tar Pits Museum contain about three million items.
  • More than 4,000 dire wolves have been found so far, making it the most common animal found in the tar pits.
  • Saber-toothed cats are second at 2,000 and coyotes are third.
October 2021

La Brea Tar Pits La Brea Tar Pits
La Brea Tar Pits La Brea Tar Pits
La Brea Tar Pits La Brea Tar Pits
La Brea Tar Pits La Brea Tar Pits

Dire Wolf Skulls:
Dire Wolf skulls

Dire Wolf (Canis Dirus):
Rancho La Bren is widely known for its incredibly rich fossil deposits. These 404 Dire Wolf skulls represent only a portion of the more than 1600 wolves whose remains have been found here. It is thought that packs of Dire Wolves attempted to feed on animals trapped in the asphalt and became mired themselves. You can see that they are not all exacity alike in either size or shape. Research on these minor differences is sure to yleld information about wolf evolution and population structure.

Migration of people to the new world:
Migration of People to The New World

Migration of People to The New World:
During the last Ice Age, the growth of continental glaciers locked up millions of cubic miles of precipitation that would normally have gone into the oceans. The absence of this water lowered the sea level more than three hundred feet creating a bridge of land connecting Asla and North America where the Bering Strait is today.

It seems certain that Mongolian immigrants crossed the Bering "land bridge" but, as yet, there is no conclusive evidence about when they came or what they hunted. This mural presents one of the current theories which suggests that they followed herds of animals to the new world. These first Americans were apparently confined to Alaska until about 30,000 years ago when the continental glaciers temporarily receded to open the way for colonization of the rest of the Western Hemisphere. With the passage of time, they separated into different tribes and developed different languages.

History of Los Angeles
5801 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036

La Brea Tar Pits