California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP)
Recounts the history of the La Brea Tar Pits through narration, animation, archival photographs and film, Going back 40,000 years to the period when great mammals dominated the earth to their extinction about 7,000 years ago, the film describes the geological changes of the region that led to the creation of the asphalt that eventually trapped thousands of animals. Masses of extremely rare fossils were discovered in 1913. By 1915, scientists from the Natural History Museum had unearthed 4,000 individual mammals and an equal number of birds, half a million bones in all. Among them were the spectacular Imperial mammoth as well as the American mastodon, horses, camels, ground sloths, bison, dire wolves, bears, coyotes, saber-tooth tigers, and lions; 126 types of birds; and one human being, a woman who lived 9,000 years ago. These fossils took 15 years to sort, catalog, and assemble. In 1975, excavation for the George Page Museum exposed yet another treasure trove of fossils, including unique, almost intact, skeletons. Excavation continues to this day, as scientists hope that the fossils will answer the mystery of why so many of these creatures became extinct. Was it climate change, disease, or human impact, or some another catastrophe? The richest and most spectacular Ice Age animal site in the world, the Tar Pits continue to contribute to research and museums around the world.