Pit 91: The Tar Pits' Summer Hot Spot | NBC Southern California

Pit 91: The Tar Pits' Summer Hot Spot

See ancient fossils emerge from the La Brea Tar Pits dig.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Pit 91: The Tar Pits' Summer Hot Spot
    La Brea Tar Pits
    Observe La Brea Tar Pits staffers and volunteers carefully digging/brushing for bones of all sorts at Pit 91, every Wednesday through Sunday, over the summer of 2017.

    It's not uncommon for a few summertime hot spots to bubble up with the cool crowd. We're talking about those places that the chic set claims "must be visited, now, before the crowds discover them and they're over."

    If anyone gives you guff in this particular arena, and complains they haven't seen you out on the social stage, just shrug and tell them you've been spending time at Pit 91. It's a piece of information sure to raise their eyebrows.

    For clearly, from its name alone, Pit 91 sounds like the ultimate hot spot of the summer, a place that may come with an exclusive guest list, a packed dance floor, and pricey beverages.

    It doesn't actually possess any of those components, but it does boast ancient sloth bones, and remnants of dire wolves and saber-toothed cats, and you can go, every Wednesday through Sunday throughout the summer, to watch those bones rise, rise, rise out of the glorious muck that is synonymous with the La Brea Tar Pits.

    Well, the fossils won't emerge simply by chanting "rise, rise, rise"; hard-working, specially trained staffers and volunteers are coaxing them out, gentle brushstroke by gentle brushstroke, before the admiring eyes of Pit 91 visitors.

    Perhaps you're already all up on your Pit 91 411. And perhaps you know that the tar-tastic work area, which is a short walk in Hancock Park from the main tar pit and the La Brea Tar Pits Museum, "has already been excavated down to 15 feet, and about 5 more feet of fossils will be excavated before hitting the bottom of the deposit."

    And that microfossils, the wee bones of birds and tiny critters, were the fossily focus at Pit 91 in the summer of '16.

    Upshot? You're cool. We acknowledge that. But even if you didn't know this, you know it now, and you surely want to swing by the famous tar pits to see what those last five feet of tar-enrobed fossil deposits will reveal in the months ahead.

    By the by, since you're cool, as we've respectfully acknowledged, you'll know that Pit 91 is the "only long-term excavation effort of the La Brea Tar Pits — museum staff have been exploring it for approximately 40 years."

    If you haven't called upon the busy pit, one of our city's fossiliest stomping grounds, in a few years, or you never have, you can still catch some cred by hanging out there, this summer, to watch science happen before your eyes.

    And we do mean "stomping grounds." After all, the Miracle Mile was once home to mammoths and mastodons, eons ago, and those behemoths knew something about stomping.

    Ergo? Pit 91 really is a hot spot with Ice Age roots.

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