All about Paige Museum and La Brea Ranch in California

La Brea Tar Pits.

La Brea Tar Pits is a group of tar pits around which Hancock Park was formed in urban Los Angeles . Natural asphalt (also called tar, bitumen, tar, or tar- Brea in Spanish) has seeped out of the ground in the area for tens of thousands of years. The tar is often covered with dust, leaves, or water. For centuries, tar has preserved the bones of trapped animals. The George S. Page Museum is dedicated to exploring tar pits and displaying specimens of animals that died there. La Brea Tar Pits is a registered National Natural Landmark . The tar pits were also mentioned in Weezer. song of the same name. [2]

Contents

Formation [ edit ]

Tar pits consist of heavy petroleum fractions called gilsonite , which seep out of the earth as oil. In Hancock Park , crude oil seeps along the 6 -Street Fault from Salt Lake, an oil field that underlies much of the Fairfax District north of the park. [3] The oil reaches the surface and forms puddles, turning into asphalt as the lighter oil fractions decompose or evaporate. The asphalt then usually hardens to form short mounds. Pools and mounds can be seen in several parts of the park.

All of the tar pits now visible were created by human excavation: the lake pit was originally an asphalt mine; and the other visible pits were formed by explorers excavating over 100 sites between 1913 and 1915 in search of large mammal bones. (These excavations have since been gradually filled in with an accumulation of asphalt, dust, leaves, and water, but the tar pits that have formed remain.)

This seepage has been going on for tens of thousands of years, during which time the asphalt has sometimes formed deposits thick enough to trap animals. The deposit would be covered by water, dust, or leaves. Animals would wander in, get trapped, and die. Predators would come in to eat the trapped animals and also get stuck. When the bones of a dead animal sink, the asphalt soaks into them, turning them dark brown or black. The lighter fractions of oil evaporate from the asphalt, leaving a harder substance that then coats the bones. Spectacular fossils of large mammals have been recovered from the tar, but asphalt also preserves microfossils. : Wood and plant remains, rodent bones, insects, mollusks, dust, seeds, leaves, and even pollen grains. Examples of some of these are on display in the George S. Page Museum. Radiometric dating of preserved wood and bone yielded an age of 38,000 years for the oldest known material from the La Brea outcrops. The pits are still a trap for organisms, so most pits are fenced to protect people and animals.

History [ edit ]

The Chumash and Tongva Native Americans living in the area built boats unlike any other in North America before contact with settlers. By pulling fallen Northern California redwood trunks and pieces of driftwood from the Santa Barbara Channel, their ancestors learned to caulk the gaps between the boards of large wooden canoes using the natural resource of resin. This innovative mode of transportation made it possible to get up and down the coastline and to the Channel Islands . PORTOLA expedition , a group of Spanish explorers led by Gaspar de PORTOLA , made the first written report of the bituminous pits in 1769 by Father Juan Crespi wrote,

Crossing the basin, the scouts reported seeing several geysers of tar coming out of the ground like springs; it boiled up in molten water, and the water flowed in one direction and the tar in the other. The scouts reported that they came across many of these springs and saw their large marshes, which they said were enough to caulk many vessels. We ourselves were not so fortunate as to see these tarry geysers, though we were very anxious to do so; for it was some distance from the path we were to take, the governor [Portolá] did not want us to pass by them. We called them Los Volcanes de Brea [ the Tar Volcanoes]. [4]

Harrison Rogers, who accompanied Jedediah Smith on his expedition to California in 1826, was shown a piece of hardened asphalt at Mission San Gabriel , and he noted in his diary, “The citizens of the country use it extensively to lay the roofs of houses. their houses.” [5] La Brea Tar Pits and Hancock Park are located within what was once Mexican grant land from Rancho La Brea , now part of urban Los Angeles in Miracle Mile County. For several years resin-covered bones were found on Rancho La Brea land, but initially did not recognize the fossils because the ranch had lost various animals, including horses, cattle, dogs and even camels, whose bones closely resemble those of some of them. fossil species. The original Rancho La Brea land grant stipulated that the tar pits would be open to the public for use by local Pueblo residents . They originally mistook the bones in the pits for the remains of the vilorogue ( Antilocapra americana ) or waterlogged cattle.

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Union Oil Geologist WW Orcutt attributed, in 1901, with the first recognition that fossilized prehistoric animal bones were preserved in asphalt pools at Hancock Ranch. To commemorate Orcutt’s first discovery, paleontologists named the La Brea coyote ( Canis latrans orcutti ) after him. [6]

Scientific resource [ edit ]

Modern excavations of the bones began in 1913-1915. In the 1940s and 1950s, the handling of previously recovered bones of large mammals caused a public outcry. [7] Subsequent examination showed that the fossil vertebrate material was well preserved, with little evidence of bacterial degradation of bone protein. [8] They are thought to be between 10,000 and 20,000 years old, from the last ice age . [9]

Bacteria [ edit ]

Methane comes out of the tar pits, causing bubbles that make the asphalt appear to be boiling. Asphalt and methane appear under surrounding buildings and require special removal operations to prevent the building foundation from weakening. In 2007, researchers at the University of California, Riverside found that the bubbles were caused by resistant forms of bacteria embedded in natural asphalt. The bacteria release methane after consuming the oil. Between 200 and 300 species of bacteria have been discovered here. [10]

George S. Page Museum [ edit ]

The La Brea George S. Page Museum of Discovery, part of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, was built next to the tar pits in Hancock Park on Wilshire Boulevard . Construction began in 1975, and the museum opened to the public in 1977. [11]

However, the history of the fossil museum began in 1913 when George Allan Hancock , owner of La Brea Ranch, granted the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History exclusive rights to excavate in the Tar Pits for two years. During those two years, the museum was able to extract 750,000 specimens from 96 sites, ensuring that a large collection of fossils would remain consolidated and available to the public. [12] Then in 1924, Hancock donated 23 acres to Los Angeles County with the condition that the county would ensure that the park and the exhibition of the fossils found there would be preserved. [12]

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The museum tells the story of the tar pits and displays specimens excavated from them. Visitors can walk through the park and see the tar pits. There are life-size models of prehistoric animals in or near the tar pits in the park. Of the more than 100 pits, only pit 91 is still regularly excavated by researchers and can be seen at the pit 91 observation deck. In addition to pit 91, another ongoing excavation is called Project 23. Paleontologists supervise and guide volunteers at both sites. [13]

“Project 23” excavation and newly discovered pits [ edit ]

File: Scientists search for a treasure trove of Ice Age fossils in Los Angeles.

Reproduce media.

On February 18, 2009, the George S. Page Museum officially announced the 2006 discovery of 16 deposits of fossils that had been excavated from the ground during construction of the underground parking lot for the Los Angeles County Art Museum, next to the tar pits. [14] Among the finds were the remains of a saber-toothed cat, fierce wolves, bison, horses, a giant ground sloth, turtles, snails, clams, millipedes, fish, gophers, and an American lion . [14] [15] A nearly intact skeleton of a mammoth nicknamed Zed was also found; missing only a hind leg, a vertebra and the top part of the skull, which had been cut off by construction machinery in preparation for the construction of the parking structure. [15] [16] [17]

These fossils were boxed up at the construction site and moved to the area behind Pit 91 at the Page Museum so that construction could continue. Twenty-three large accumulations of resin and specimens were taken to the Page Museum. These deposits are being developed under the name “Project 23.” In the works for public transportation D Line will be extended , museum researchers know more tar pits will be uncovered , e.g. , near the intersection of Wilshire and Curson. [14] Exploration excavations in the metro in 2014 on the Miracle Mile uncovered prehistoric objects, including geodesics , sand dollars and a 10-foot branch of pine, the type now found in Central California. woodlands. [18]

Flora and fauna [ edit ]

The park is known for producing countless mammal fossils dating back to the last ice age . While mammal fossils are of considerable interest, other fossils, including fossilized insects and plants, and even pollen grains, are also valued. These fossils help paint a picture of what is thought to have been a cooler, wetter climate in the Los Angeles Basin during the Ice Age. Among these fossils are microfossils, which are extracted from a matrix of asphalt and sandy clay by washing with a solvent to remove oil and then collecting through the remains under a powerful lens.

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Tarmac pits around the world are unusual in that they collect more predators than prey. The reason for this is unknown, but one theory is that a large prey animal may have died or become trapped in the tar pit, attracting predators long distances away. This predator trap catches predators along with their prey. Another theory is that dire wolves and their prey may have fallen into the trap while hunting. Since modern wolves hunt in packs, each prey animal may have taken several wolves with it. The same can be said of the saber-toothed cats known in the area.

Human presence [ edit ]

It was found , only one human, a partial skeleton of La Brea Woman [19] dated to about 10000 calendar years (about 9000 radiocarbon years ) BP , [20] who was 17 to 25 years after death [21] and associated with the remains of a domestic dog, which has been interpreted as a ceremonial burial. [22] However, it was later determined in 2016 that the dog was much younger. [23]

John C. Merriam of the University of California led much of the original work in this area in the early 1900s.

In addition, some even older fossils showed possible tool marks, indicating that humans were working in the area at the time. The saber-toothed cat bones from La Brea with evidence of “artificial” cuts at an oblique angle to the long axis of each bone have been radiocarbon dated to 15,200 ± 800 years ago (no calibration). [24]

If these cuts are in fact tool marks resulting from the cutting of meat, then this material would be the earliest hard evidence of a human connection to the Los Angeles Basin. However, it is also possible that there was some residual contamination of the material as a result of asphalt saturation, which affected the radiocarbon determination. [25]

LaBray Ranch and Page Museum: tarred antiquities

LaBray Ranch and Page Museum

Accidents often lead to unexpected discoveries. Such was the case in California, where underground “warehouses” of ancient beasts were discovered early last century. The place is called Rancho La Brea. The territory became historically important in 1901, but animal bones have been found before. At first, no one recognized that the remains could belong to an older animal than a dog, horse or cow. Lovers of traveling and exploring antiquity should come to the La Brea homestead. Children especially love it here .

A ranch in Los Angeles was producing black fuel, and while drilling the wells, the remains of primitive predators were discovered. When the necessary product was pumped out in full, they gave the area to paleontologists for experimentation. Scientists began to excavate, and soon found the skeletons of more than a dozen animals of the ancient era. It was decided to build a museum, and the project was funded by George Page. Since then, the found remains of saber-toothed tigers and mammoths could be seen in the collection of the institution.

This is interesting. During the Ice Age, North America was home to wolves, giant-sized sloths, mastodons and mammoths. In the area where present-day Los Angeles is located, swamps of fuel oil emerged – these “ponds” were where the beasts were drowned. Perfectly preserved bones and began to be found early last century.

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Where is the La Brea Ranch and Page Museum

The address of the George Page Paleontological Museum of Discoveries is West 6thS Street, Hancock Park, Hollywood.

How to get there

The popular historical landmark is easy to get to. La Brea Ranch is located within the city limits and is accessible by public transportation. Take the number 20 bus to the Wilshire/Curson stop. It will take about an hour to get there. If you walk from Sunset Boulevard, you will be there in an hour and a half.

History

According to Wikipedia, the LA area was diligently mined for oil in the early years of the 20th century. Alan Hancock, the owner of the natural fuel fields, donated the site to the state of California after the work was completed. Active excavations by paleontologists then led to the establishment of a museum at the La Brea Ranch in Los Angeles, California.

This unusual institution is also unique in that you are allowed to touch the exhibits here.

Interesting facts:

  • To the left of the museum’s main hall is a movie theater. In a large room they show a documentary about the life of ancient animals, how they went to the lakes for water and got stuck in the tar marshes. The film runs for 5-10 minutes with English voice-over and subtitles. Viewers are encouraged to sit on the long steps;
  • most of the collection is the remains of animals: legs, large single skeletons, skulls. In reviews, tourists write that the first thing you think of here is the “Ice Age” cartoon. For this reason, children love to come here. At the very least, the museum should be visited for the sake of the giant mammoth skeleton assembled in its entirety. A little comparison: a person of average height can reach the knee of a mammoth;
  • there is a room in the museum where there is an enclosed booth with a pen and stick that is submerged in a large bowl of resin. Anyone can try to pull the handle, and try to pull the stick out of the black slop. It is very difficult to do this. The design shows how hard it was for the animals to get out of the tar, so many of them died;
  • there is another stand at the exit of the Page Museum. Here is a machine that squeezes small coins into one, and stuffs the museum’s logo onto the surface of the object. You can choose the image yourself. There are also souvenir shops near the ticket office, where you can buy cups, key chains, and t-shirts.

Hours of Operation

The Page Museum at La Brea Ranch is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Throughout the excavations, scientists have found nearly half a million remains of various animals of ancient periods in the area. Some species lived on Earth almost 40 thousand years ago. Mammoths, giant vultures, lizards, saber-toothed tigers, bears, rodents and insects were drowned in the tar pits – this is the richest collection of such exhibits in the world.

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It’s useful . The museum has a garden where you can see simulated natural landscapes of the ancient world. The time when there were mammoths and various animals, which no one has ever seen in person, seems to be frozen here on the ranch. In the green garden with fish you can walk around and take pictures. Here you can get out of several halls of the museum itself. A staircase leads to the roof of the institution, and from here you can see the entire garden.

Ticket prices

Admission to the Page Museum costs $11 for an adult and $7 for a child. It is more convenient to pay in cash, but if you pay with a bank card, you need to show ID. There is a sign near the box office that shows the cost of the ticket for visitors of all ages. On Fridays and weekends, you can go to the show, where there is a demonstration of extinct animals in life size and detailed information about each exhibit. The show runs for 15 minutes and the ticket costs $3.

What to see nearby

La Brea Ranch is located in the Los Angeles area, and there are plenty of attractions in that city. Not far from the Museum of Ancient Animal Remains you can visit places of interest such as:

    . Wilshire Boulevard is home to one of the largest car museums in the world. The Petersen Collection has about 400 exhibits – 150 cars on display in the gallery and 300 in the storerooms. The first floor of the building is filled with permanent exhibitions that tell the story of the development of automobiles around the world. The second tier is reserved for racing and classic cars, as well as vintage motorcycles and transport props from films. On the third floor is the research center, where children’s interactive courses are held. There is a conference room on the roof of the museum, which is often rented out for private events;
  • Farmer’s Market. During the Great Depression, a small group of entrepreneurs decided to form a plaza in the city to sell handmade items and produce from the fields and vegetable gardens. So on July 14, 1934, a farmers’ market appeared in Los Angeles. California farmers first began selling at the market. Their descendants still sell their own produce on the corner of Third Street and Fairfax. Here you can find the Blanche Magee stall, which has been making homemade sandwiches for more than 80 years. Today, there are eateries at the market that feature more than 16 different types of cuisine. Anyone can see real Bennett’s ice cream and candy being made at Littlejohn’s House Pastry Shop.

Los Angeles is nestled on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. Sunny weather reigns in this city. Hundreds of travelers come here just to enjoy their summer vacations, take a convertible ride under the palm tree avenues, and visit a couple of famous U.S. attractions. Where would you go in the City of Angels first?

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