Imagine you were to read one paragraph from one of the seven Harry Potter Books (or other very, very long book series). Would you assume from that one sentence that you could extrapolate out the entire plot of the series?

Most definitely not. Yet, when it comes to reading the ancient past with fossils, that is very often what we have to do.

So, what if we had the opportunity to collect as many paragraphs as we could and then read them all together? We could glean a lot more.

The remarkable fossil deposits at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California have produced millions of fossils that have allowed scientists to gather a much richer view of the prehistoric past.

By saving every tiny bone and sifting through every speck of material, we are able to paint a detailed image of the past, and observe subtle evolutionary and environmental changes over time.

What can you do with millions of fossils? Well, as this video from SciFri shows, us a whole lot!

Via: SciFri 1

Pretty cool, right?

If you want to learn more about the La Brea Tar Pits, the museum has a great website filled with lots of information to absorb, including that camels and horses evolved in North America! (I may have gotten side tracked by the site for a while.)

Paleontology is such a fascinating field. It’s no wonder so many of us are captivated by it as kids (and adults). Looking back at fossil collections like those at the La Brea Tar Pits makes the ancient, and sometimes unimaginable past, so real. For so many, paleontology sparks our first interest and curiosity in science.

And really, is there anything more powerful than curiosity?

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

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Notes:

  1. “Millions of Fossils Can’t Be Wrong.” YouTube. SciFri, 02 Sept. 2014. Web. 17 July 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9VySAIXhhA>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV