Diversity of finds

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.
 

Mammals
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.
 
 
 
Species Size Other information .
Smilodon californicus
(Sabretooth)
Smaller than a lion but twice the weight 2nd most common; 2000 found; juveniles & adults
Picture
Mammathus columbi
(Columbian mammoth)
3-3.7m at shoulder
5500-7300kg
Biggest species trapped;
14ft long tusks
Picture
Glossotherium harlani
(Harlan's ground sloth)
3m long
1587kg
Herbivorous; dermal ossicles
Picture
Canis dirus
(Dire wolf)
1.5m long Most common species; >1600 skulls found
Picture
Mammut americanum
(American mastodon)
2.5-3m at shoulder
3500-5400kg
Browser
Picture
Felis atrox
(American lion)
Larger than African lion 100 found .
Camelops hesternus
(Western camel)
7ft at shoulder Rare
Picture
Homo sapiens
(La Brea Woman)
4'10" 22-24 years old;
Possible murder victim
.
Bison antiquus
(Ancient bison)
. Most common herbivore
Picture
Equus laurentius
(Horse)
. .
Picture

 

Other mammals found at La Brea include the California mole, long-horn bison, coyote, flat-headed peccary, short-faced bear and large-headed llama.

Birds
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.

Amphibians
Five species of amphibian have been found at La Brea, including frogs, salamanders and toads.

Reptiles
At least fourteen species of snake, seven species of lizard and one turtle species have been found at La Brea.

Fish
Three fish species have been found at La Brea.

Arthropods
Around 100,000 specimens of arthropods have been found, including ostracods, isopods, diplopods, chilopods and insects, totalling at least 135 species.

Molluscs
Although around 20,000 specimens of molluscs have been found at La Brea, their diversity is quite low.

Plants
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.

Microfossils
Various microfossils have been found, including pollen, spores, insect parts, seeds, unicellular organisms and microvertebrate remains.
 
 

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