Rancho La Brea has yielded over 3 million fossils, making
up 660 species of animal and plant. The fossil collections take up over
10,000 pages of documentation.
Although La Brea is famous for its large mammals, many of the 59 mammal species found here are small mammals. Below is a summary of the more well known mammal finds.
|Smaller than a lion but twice the weight||2nd most common; 2000 found; juveniles & adults||
|3-3.7m at shoulder
|Biggest species trapped;
14ft long tusks
(Harlan's ground sloth)
|Herbivorous; dermal ossicles||
|1.5m long||Most common species; >1600 skulls found||
|2.5-3m at shoulder
|Larger than African lion||100 found||.|
|7ft at shoulder||Rare||
(La Brea Woman)
|4'10"||22-24 years old;
Possible murder victim
|.||Most common herbivore||
Other mammals found at La Brea include the California mole, long-horn bison, coyote, flat-headed peccary, short-faced bear and large-headed llama.
More than 138 species of bird have been recovered from La Brea, 38 of which are now extinct. Predators and scavengers are the most common. Species found include the giant condor (4m wingspan), La Brea stork, Merriamís terratorn, La Brea owl and Cooperís hawk.
Five species of amphibian have been found at La Brea, including frogs, salamanders and toads.
At least fourteen species of snake, seven species of lizard and one turtle species have been found at La Brea.
Three fish species have been found at La Brea.
Around 100,000 specimens of arthropods have been found, including ostracods, isopods, diplopods, chilopods and insects, totalling at least 135 species.
Although around 20,000 specimens of molluscs have been found at La Brea, their diversity is quite low.
Over 100,00 large plant fossils have been found, from around 151 species. The specimens either grew near the tar pits, or were washed in by streams.
Various microfossils have been found, including pollen, spores, insect parts, seeds, unicellular organisms and microvertebrate remains.
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