Ok. This is cool.
I had no idea that one of the most active paleontological research sites on the planet is in our own backyard.
And smack in the heart of one of America's largest cities, at that.
The La Brea tar pits is home to one of the largest collections of Ice Age fossils in the world.
More than 600 species have been found, starting in the early 1900s. (!!) Many of the discoveries were unearthed during other excavation projects; like when the demolition of a nearby department store uncovered a near-fully intact Columbian mammoth skeleton.
Turns out, tar is a pain in the butt to remove from fossils, but an excellent preservation medium for bones and other organic matter.
Paleontologists have even extracted preserved seeds and pollen.
There are 16 different large mammal specimens in this pile of bones alone, including remains of a giant sloth, saber-toothed cat, American Mastodon and dire wolf.
The COOLEST thing though, is that paleontologists are still actively working at this site today!
Not only do they have active dig sites, they also have an in-house fossil lab.
No, they wouldn't let me help unearth fossils.
I did ask.