Saturday, October 30, 2010
La Brea Tar Pits are a famous cluster of fossil sites in urban Los Angeles, around the Hancock Park area. Brea is the Spanish word for asphalt or tar, which has seeped up from the ground in the area for thousands of years. Over the centuries, animals that came to drink the water, which collected on top, fell in, sank into the tar, and were preserved as bones. The asphalt also preserved many very small "microfossils" such as wood and plant remnants, insects, dust, and even pollen grains. Scientists have used radiometric dating of the preserved wood and bones to estimate an age of 38,000 years for the oldest known piece from the La Brea pits. Read the full La Brea Tar Pits article.