Ice Age Icon: Mama Mammoth Returns to La Brea Tar Pit

Following a clean-up, the in-pit statue is back in its longtime location.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Page Museum
    Cleaned and repaired: The mama mammoth is back in her usual spot at the east end of the largest La Brea Tar Pit. The pit's statues -- the mammoth family and mastodon -- all underwent recent repair work.

    As far as local legendary sights go, a few biggies sit at the top of the list: The view of the Capital Records Building from the 101. Walt Disney Concert Hall lit up at night. And the family of mammoths who've called the La Brea Tar Pits home since the late 1960s.

    And while legendary sights tend not to go missing, the tar pit mammoth and mastodon statues mysteriously started moving about in recent days.

    Nope, they weren't moving about under their own accord, because of some magical spell (though, being under the constant thrall of Hollywood's magic, we did hope) and, nope, they didn't sink into the tar late one night.

    Rather, the famous statues enjoyed some much needed days of beauty. Repair work included "tails redone, cracks filled" plus some paint work and anchor restoration on the female.

    Or "mama mammoth," if you prefer. And now that the restoration has wrapped, mama mammoth is back in her spot at the east end of the largest tar pit.

    Know the statue we speak of? She's the one who's been "stuck" in that particular pit for much of the last half century, crying out for her mate and baby, who cry back for her.

    Countless Angelenos and tourists have found this to be a moving sight, for sure. And while we sometimes wish for a happy ending for the La Brea Tar Pits mammoth statues -- a joyous on-shore reunion! -- that was not the life for the tar-trapped animals of the Pleistocene era.

    Reality, you're a hard, hard teacher. We get it.

    Not hard, though? Loving the iconic statues. The mammoths have showed up on all sorts of postcards and t-shirts over the years, making them some of the most beloved local icons around.

    And now that mama mammoth is back in her usual spot, after a spell of necessary repairs, we can all breathe a little easier. True, breathing around the tar pits is always slightly stinky, but that's part of their odor-strong charm, right?

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