Feb 24th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Enjoy Rancho La Brea

The Page Museum is located at the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits in the heart of Los Angeles. Rancho La Brea is one of the world’s most famous fossil sites, recognized for having the largest and most diverse assemblage of extinct Ice Age plants and animals in the world. Senior visitors can learn about Los Angeles as it was between 10,000 and 40,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age, when animals roamed the Los Angeles Basin. Through windows at the Page Museum Laboratory, visitors can watch bones being cleaned and repaired. Outside the Museum, in Hancock Park, life-size replicas of several extinct mammals are featured.

The archeological significance of La Brea Pits is fairly well known. What is virtually unknown, is the rancho, an obscure adobe bearing the same name. Rancho La Brea, which is Spanish for “Tar Ranch“, was a Mexican land grant named for the pitch filled depressions which were located within the grant boundaries. An adobe dwelling associated with the rancho still stands well hidden by trees near the intersection of 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. Known as La Casa de Rancho La Brea, or the Gilmore Adobe, it was built between 1828 and 1830.

Seniors Return to Ice Age in LA

Located right in the heart of Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits is home to over three million fossils from the last Ice Age. It was there that huge mammoths, fierce saber-toothed cats, and giant ground sloths became trapped and entombed in the asphalt that has been seeping out of the ground for the past 40,000 years. Approximately 60 species have been identified, including saber-tooth cat, bear, lion, wolf, camel, bison, and mastodon.  90% of the mammals excavated at Rancho La Brea are carnivores. This proportion is due to the nature of the asphalt seeps that form a carnivore trap. When a large herbivore became mired in the asphalt, it attracted predators and scavengers to the site and these in turn became trapped.

Rancho La Brea was a 4,439-acre Mexican land grant given in 1828 to Antonio Jose Rocha and Nemisio Dominguez.  The grant included the famous La Brea Tar Pits. The George C. Page Museum is dedicated to researching the tar pits and displaying specimens from the animals that died there. The La Brea Tar Pits are now a registered National Natural Landmark.

The Rancho La Brea biota (the combined flora and fauna of a region) is one of the world’s richest and most diverse late Pleistocene terrestrial assemblages. At the last census, in 1992, the collection exceeded 3.5 million specimens that included over 10,000 fossil vertebrate individuals. The diversity of species, the quality of preservation, and the large numbers of specimens makes this collection invaluable for the study and understanding of the end of the last Ice Age in North America. Seniors, if you are into history and love archeology La Brea is the place to visit. Be sure to take in the Page Museum as it is the motherlode of information and displays.  jeb

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