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  1. The park at La Brea Tar Pits is currently open, and visitors can see paleontologists working at our excavation site weekly. See NHMLAC's response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

    • Rancho La Brea Tar Pits In Los Angeles
    • Exploring the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles
    • Rancho La Brea Tar Pits
    • La Brea Tar Pits
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  3. About Rancho La Brea | La Brea Tar Pits

    About Rancho La Brea Excavators at La Brea Tar Pits painstakingly unearth the fossils of megafauna and microfossils. Our research group uses fossils preserved in asphaltic sediments to investigate big questions related to climate change, evolution, and paleoecology.

  4. La Brea Tar Pits - Wikipedia

    The La Brea Tar Pits and Hancock Park are situated within what was once the Mexican land grant of Rancho La Brea, now part of urban Los Angeles in the Miracle Mile district.

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  5. Los Angeles | La Brea Tar Pits

    Los Angeles | La Brea Tar Pits La Brea Tar Pits museum will remain closed until further notice. The park at La Brea Tar Pits is currently open and visitors can currently see paleontologists working at our excavation site weekly. See NHMLAC's response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

  6. La Brea Tar Pits | tar pits, California, United States ...

    La Brea Tar Pits, tar (Spanish brea) pits, in Hancock Park (Rancho La Brea), Los Angeles, California, U.S. The area was the site of “pitch springs” oozing crude oil that was used by local Indians for waterproofing. Gaspar de Portolá ’s expedition in 1769 explored the area, which encompasses about 20 acres (8 hectares).

  7. La Brea Tar Pits History | La Brea Tar Pits
    • History of Rancho La Brea
    • Peak Excavations
    • George C. Page Museum
    • Discovery in The Parking Lot!
    • Summary of Important Dates and People

    Rancho La Brea was a Mexican Land Grant of over 4,400 acres given to Antonio Jose Rocha in 1828, with the proviso that the residents of the pueblo could have access to as much asphalt as they needed for personal use. As Los Angeles grew, the Rancho was eventually subdivided and developed. Its last owner was George Allan Hancock, who recognized the scientific importance of the fossils found in the asphaltic deposits. Hancock Park was created in 1924 when he donated 23 acres of the ranch to the County of Los Angeles with the stipulation that the park be preserved and the fossils properly exhibited. The earliest written mention of the "springs of pitch" was in 1769 in the diary of Juan Crespi, a Franciscan friar who recorded the expedition of Gaspar de Portola, the first Spanish Governor of the Californias from 1769–70. More than a century passed before the first published mention of the occurrence of extinct fauna at Rancho La Brea was made by William Denton in 1875. Until then, the b...

    Between 1905 and 1915, excavation at Rancho La Brea was at its peak. Foreign and domestic institutions became interested in acquiring fossils from the area and sent individuals or crews to collect and visiting amateurs were known to take away many souvenirs. Beginning in 1907, J. Z. Gilbert, zoology teacher at Los Angeles High School, periodically brought a work force of students to exhume specimens. Gilbert was the first to create local interest and monetary support through the Southern California Academy of Sciences and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and directed the excavation of a large "Academy Pit" in 1910. This served as the nucleus of the fossil vertebrate collections at the (then) fledgling Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art (now the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County). Merriam finally secured funds in 1912 for the first large-scale excavations and the University of California excavations yielded thousands of specimens. G. Allan Hancock fe...

    Future philanthropist George C. Page’s fascination with the "tar pits" brought him to Rancho La Brea to see the fossils after moving to California from Nebraska by 1917. To his disappointment, he found that the skeletons of Ice Age animals he sought were not onsite, but seven miles away at NHM. Over the course of his long business career, Page founded the Mission Pak Company and became a pioneer developer of industrial parks in the United States. He never forgot the La Brea fossils, however, which led to his offer to finance the construction of an onsite museum that would house the tar pit fossils. Construction began in 1975 and the George C. Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries opened to the public in 1977. When the foundation for the Page Museum was excavated in 1975, an unusual, laterally extensive, deposit was discovered which contained the largest concentration of articulated and associated specimens ever collected from Rancho La Brea. With the cooperation of the contractors, 20...

    Early in 2006 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art began construction of an underground parking garage at the west end of Hancock Park. Within the confines of the future structure (~100,000 sq. ft.), 16 previously unknown asphaltic fossil deposits were discovered along with the skeleton of a near-complete Columbian mammoth. In order to hasten construction, the 16 deposits were boxed into 23 large “tree-boxes” and crated to a safe location within Hancock Park. The mammoth skeleton was mapped, plaster-jacketed, and excavated and brought to the Museum. Since the summer of 2008, staff has been excavating the boxes and preparing the mammoth material. Dubbed Project 23, the fossils retrieved from this salvage effort may double the size of the existing collections. In recent years, subsurface testing and excavations for developments in and around Hancock Park have considerably augmented previously available stratigraphic information. A re-evaluation of information recorded during the early...

    1875: W. Denton first describes fossils from Rancho La Brea
    1901 : W. W. Orcutt and F. Anderson excavate at Rancho La Brea
    1905:  J. C. Merriam from the University of California at Berkeley visits the locality and excavates
    1907:  J. Z. Gilbert LA High School brings students to excavate
  8. La Brea Tar Pits l Amazing Geology - Our Breathing Planet

    La Brea Tar Pits Today Today, the La Brea Tar Pits serve as both a tourist attraction and a source of ongoing scientific research. They sit within the confines of Hancock Park, which is itself located within the city of Los Angeles. Excavation of skeletal remains began in 1913.

  9. Our Collections | La Brea Tar Pits

    The museum at La Brea Tar Pits remains closed until further notice. The park at La Brea Tar Pits is currently open, and visitors can see paleontologists working at our excavation site weekly. See NHMLAC's response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

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