How were Animals Preserved in the Tar Pits?
La Brea was a death trap for animals of the Pleistocene. In the warmer seasons the asphalt became very
soft and sticky. The asphalt would also occasionally become covered with debris such as leaves, sand, and
water. This would set up a trap like environment for the animals, and they would occasionally wander into
the asphalt and become stuck.
The entrapped animals would then become easy prey for carnivores and would sometimes entice a pack of
saber-tooth cats to feast upon the trapped animal. This would in turn put the saber-tooth cats at risk of
becoming trapped as well. This type of "death cycle" was how animals became trapped in the tar pits.