• Travel Destination: La Brea Tar Pits

    Photo Credit: www.ucmp.Berkley.edu

    Photo Credit: www.ucmp.Berkley.edu

    Most people travel to Los Angeles thinking about the glitz and glamour, the movie stars, and the history associated with show business.? However, something less known, but still fascinating to see, are The La Brea Tar Pits located in the heart of Los Angeles close to the Miracle Mile district. The destination includes a series of over 100 tar pits, of which more than 650 species of plants and animals have been found and identified; these fossils date back as many as 40,000 years.

    Although called “tar pits”, it’s more accurate to refer to them as “asphalt pits”, since that’s actually the material that’s being produced.? Asphalt is usually created through a process that brings it from petroleum. Natural occurring asphalt pits are rare today, but they were more prevalent in early times. The pits helped cultures develop ships because of asphalt’s waterproof qualities; it was also used to make weapons. Today, we mostly use asphalt for roofing and roadways.

    It might not seem all that exciting to go look at a mass of thick, black liquid bubbling out of the ground, but it’s actually fascinating when you think of the history of the pit.? Many full fossils of animals throughout history, including saber-toothed tigers, bears and mammoths, have been pulled from these pits, and most of them are fully intact.? It takes your breath away to see them and wonder just what else might be in there.? To date, no dinosaur bones have ever been discovered, and only one set of human bones has been uncovered, belonging to a woman from nearly 9,000 years ago.

    There are two interesting things about tar pits. One, most of the animals stuck in tar pits are predator and not prey. Two, along with animal bones, asphalt preserves smaller things like dust, insects, bits and pieces of wood and plants, and very small microfossils. The preservation of remnants in asphalt gives researchers a better understanding of the surrounding area’s history.

    One thing you won’t notice with the naked-eye, but is fascinating to know, is that there are living organisms in the tar pits.? Bacteria feeds off the asphalt and “burps” the methane that makes the tar pits bubble. An early theory suggested that heat may have been the source of the bubbles.

    Right next to the La Brea tar pits is the Page Museum, where you can learn all about the history of the tar pits and some of the animals that have been recovered from them.

    Photo Credit: HowStuffWorks.com

    Photo Credit: HowStuffWorks.com

    If you plan on visiting the La Brea Tar Pits, find Los Angeles, California hotel deals at www.DiscountHotels.com

    Quick Fact:

    Brea is a spanish word meaning tar; the phrase The La Brea Tar Pits translates to The The Tar Tar Pits

    See Also:

    La Brea Tar Pits – www.enchantedlearning.com

    La Brea Tar Pits – www.wikipedia.org

    Tar pits’ secret bubbles – www.articles.latimes.com

    Page Museum

    Major Cache of fossils unearthed in L.A. – www.articles.latimes.com

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