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Treasures in the Tar Pits

Skeleton of a California Lion
Skeleton of a California Lion
Photo taken from James Lee Media

One of the greatest places to see post Ice Age fossils is right on Wilshire Boulevard at the Page Museum. The Page Museum is located in the heart of the La Brea Tar Pits.

A little over 100 years ago just after the Civil War, Los Angeles was a very small community. Scientists started discovering fossils of many different animal species that no longer exist. Some of these fossils are believed to be at least 40,000 years old. There have been discoveries of North American lions, mammoths, camels, and even saber-toothed cats. There have been over 1,600 wolves remains discovered.

The fossils have been excavated and placed on display throughout the museum. There are short films describing the situations that must have occurred for these creatures to have fallen into the tar pits leading to their deaths. The asphalt has not only preserved animals, but also insects and plants. This is enough evidence for scientists to reconstruct what life was like 12,000 years ago in the Los Angeles Basin. There have even been the skeletal remains of a woman found in the tar pits. This is the only human remains discovered to this day. It is believed the woman may have been murdered. This very well could be the oldest cold case in Los Angeles!

Visiting the tar pits around the Page Museum is free and there are guides that offer information. The Museum admission is $7 for adults and $4.50 for children but on the first Tuesday of every month Admission is FREE. Parking is about $6. There is some parking around that area on the street but make sure to read the signs to avoid parking in time restricted parking zones. There are also places to eat nearby but backpacks are always a great way to carry food.

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