|I have heard that the Tar Pits close to LA are a
good place to find fossils. Are there also
dinosaur fossils? Is it a fun place to visit?
|Question Date: 2003-05-09|
No, there are no dino fossils in the LaBrea tar
pits. Natural tar pits form when tar and
like gooey stuff oozes up from the source rocks
that are buried a few kilometers in sedimentary
rocks. These natural seeps were a place where
animals of all sorts would hang out. The smaller
ones would get stuck and then the big ones would
come in to eat them and they would get stuck also.
Because tar is so sticky and thick, the remains of
these animals can be preserved . No oxygen can get
in and make things rot (oxidize).
AGE of the tar pits is roughly a 100 hundred
thousand years (100,000).
Look at this web site
and you will find a HUGE amount of information
LaBrea tar pits
It is a WAY COOL place to visit, but there
dinosaur fossils. The tar pits date from somewhere
around the Pleistocene Epoch in geologic history,
during the last ice age, about 10,000 to 40,000
years ago. Dinosaurs died out at the end of the
Cretacious Era - about 65 million years ago. The
dinosaurs were long gone by the time the tar pits
were a flourishing swamp area. The fossils you can
find in the tar pits are early mammals - woolly
mammoths, saber toothed cats, dire wolves, and
eohippus (early horses).
But you should
definitely plan a trip there - you can see the tar
bubbling up from the ground, and there is a museum
that tells you all about the history of the area
and the types of animals that were alive at that
time, and hence the types of fossils you find.
You can't collect any fossils yourself - there
are people who collect and catalog them for the
museum. But there is a window to their laboratory
where you can see the scientists and their helpers
working on the fossils, and there are places in
the park around the museum where you can go down
into the pits and look in, though you can't
actually walk through the areas where they are
The tar pits are actually in the
heart of downtown Los Angeles. You can get
information from the official website of the
There are no dinosaurs preserved in the La Brea
Tar Pits because the last of the dinosaurs became
extinct 65 million years ago , and the oldest
preserved at La Brea are only 40,000 years old!
You can find many other animals that are now
extinct, including saber-toothed cats and
mammoths, and birds like Merriam's Teratorn and
Grinnell's Eagle, in addition to bones of more
familiar animals. These fossils are preserved
remarkably well, and I think it is a wonderful
place to visit!
Yes, there are many fossils at the Tar Pits,
though they can't be collected by the public. The
displays are beautiful and definitely worth a
visit. The fossils from there are less than 40,000
years old (mostly saber-tooth cats, elephants,
sloths and other mammals). This deposit is far too
young to contain the usual kinds of dinosaurs (T.
rex etc.). Birds, of course, are a living kind of
feathered dinosaur. Since birds are known from La
Brea, in that sense one could say that there are
I am to understand that they are fun to visit, but
I have never actually been there myself. You will
not find any dinosaur fossils because the La Brea
tar pits are not that old. You can find fossils of
animals that became extinct in the past few tens
of thousand years, such as mammoths, saber-toothed
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