Thursday, July 21, 2011

Page Museum (La Brea Tar Pits)

This was my third visit to La Brea Tar Pits, but my first time in the museum 
Harlan's Ground Sloth

Shasta Ground Sloth forefeet and claws
It is interesting to see the size of animals found in the pits. They must have been extremely tempting meals to have attracted so many predators. The ancient bison was larger than those we know today. The larger ground sloth, Harlan's, was estimated to have weighed 1500 lbs. and stood 6 feet high.

 Below are skeletons of a camel, an adult Mastedon and a baby Mastedon, which are smaller than the Woolly Mammoth of an earlier epoch.
Camel in front

baby and adult Mastedon in front

Woolly Mammoth bones have been uncovered, but only recently have they found any with tusks intact.
So what were the predators who often got stuck with these huge beasts?

Raptors  and scavenger birds were found in abundance.  I like the way the museum displays the skeletons with a rendering of what these birds may have looked like.

Hundreds of bird bones were found, but they were small in number compared to the 'big 3' predators
Coyote - over 1000 found
Sabertooth - over 2000 found

I can't imagine these huge teeth were helpful

Dire Wolf - over 4000 found

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