Our Top 10 Stops on A Fossil Road Trip


La Brea Tar Pits, California

The last stop on our trip is the La Brea Tar Pits in downtown Los Angeles, where residue from an underground lake of oil bubbles to the surface and is known as asphalt. Because asphalt is incredibly sticky and because it's been rising up from the Earth for thousands of years, it has trapped scores of animals -- especially those that lived in the region between 10,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Excavation of this site has produced 1 million bones belonging to more than 231 species of vertebrates with the most common being the dire wolf followed by the saber-toothed cat [source: La Brea Tar Pits]. Today, it is the world's only active urban ice age excavation site.

The onsite Page Museum offers visitors the chance to look through large windows at a lab where bones are being cleaned and repaired. Films, talks and events for children make the past truly come alive.

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  • Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park. "Ashfall Fossil Beds." (June 30, 2011) http://ashfall.unl.edu/ashfallstory.html
  • Aurora Fossil Museum. "Welcome." (June 30, 2011) http://www.aurorafossilmuseum.com/
  • Australian Museum. "Murgon." (June 30, 2011) http://australianmuseum.net.au/Murgon
  • Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes. "Badlands National Park." (June 30, 2011) http://www.blackhillsbadlands.com/home/thingstodo/parksmonuments/nationalparks/badlandsnationalpark
  • Black River Fossils. "Welcome to Dutch Creek - an American Fossil Hunting Experience." (June 30, 2011) http://www.blackriverfossils.org/Articles/DutchCreek/tabid/80/Default.aspx
  • Fossilmuseum.net. "Badlands Fossils. (June 30, 2011) http://www.fossilmuseum.net/Fossil_Sites/badlands.htm
  • Go-Oregon. "John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon Travel Guide." (June 30, 2011) http://www.go-oregon.com/John-Day-Fossil-Beds-National-Monument/
  • Idaho Tourism. "Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument - Hagerman, Idaho." (June 30, 2011) http://www.idahobeautiful.com/south-central/hagerman-fossil-beds-national-monument-hagerman-idaho.html
  • Jurassic Coast. "The Geology: Deeper Into Time." (June 30, 2011) http://www.jurassiccoast.com/275/category/the-geology-deeper-into-time-140.html
  • National Park Service. "Agate Fossil Beds." (June 30, 2011) http://www.nps.gov/agfo/naturescience/mammalfossils.htm
  • National Park Service. "Badlands." (June 30, 2011) http://www.nps.gov/badl/planyourvisit/index.htm
  • National Park Service. "Fossil Butte." (June 30, 2011) http://www.nps.gov/fobu/naturescience/naturalfeaturesandecosystems.htm
  • National Park Service. "Geology Fieldnotes: Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Nebraska." (June 30, 2011) http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/parks/agfo/index.cfm
  • National Park Service. "Hagerman Fossil Beds." (June 30, 2011) http://www.nps.gov/hafo/index.htm
  • National Park Service. "John Day Fossil Beds." (June 30, 2011) http://www.nps.gov/joda/index.htm
  • Page Museum LaBrea Tar Pits. "Frequently Asked Questions." (June 30, 2011) http://www.tarpits.org/
  • Ouramericanparks.com. "Agate Fossil Beds National Monument." (June 30, 2011) http://www.ouramericanparks.com/Paleontology-at-Agate-Fossil-Bed-on-Niobrara-River.html
  • San Diego Natural History Museum. "Fossil Mysteries." (June 30, 2011) http://www.sdnhm.org/exhibits/mystery/fg_timeline.html
  • The American Southwest. "Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument." (June 30, 2011) http://www.americansouthwest.net/colorado/florissant-fossil-beds/national-monument.html
  • The Mammoth Site. "More than 26,000 years ago, large Columbian and woolly mammoths were trapped and died in a spring-fed pond near what is now the southwest edge of Hot Springs, South Dakota." (June 30, 2011) http://www.mammothsite.com/history.html
  • Wyoming Tourism. "Fossil Butte National Monument." (June 30, 2011) http://www.wyomingtourism.org/overview/Fossil-Butte-National-Monument/32481


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