On Wednesday, December 11, La Brea Tar Pits will be closing at 3pm for a special event. We apologize for any inconvenience.

About Rancho La Brea

fossil work at the tar pits rancho la brea

Our research group uses fossils preserved in asphaltic sediments to investigate big questions related to climate change, evolution, and paleoecology.

Because Rancho La Brea represents the largest collection of late Pleistocene asphaltic fossils in the world, we use this opportunity to train students, build collections through excavation, prepare and conserve fossils in our public viewing Fossil Lab and curate this massive collection onsite. Our staff also use these collections to study scientific questions with visiting academics. Much of the current research could not be possible without the unique geological circumstances that occur in the La Basin and the efforts of the paleontologists who came before us.

Geology around Rancho La Brea

Historic Excavations

Early Researchers at Rancho La Brea

As a place-based museum, we are also committed to engaging the communities around us, sharing our research through exhibits, and preserving this National Natural Landmark for future generations.

Our Staff

Assistant Collections Manager, Rancho La Brea
Christine Mazzello

Ms. Mazzello is interested in proper paleontological cataloging techniques, preservation and conservation of fossil specimens through best museum and curatorial practices, to ensure long-term research accessibility.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Rancho La Brea
Alexis Mychajliw, Ph.D.

Dr. Mychajliw applies a diverse methodological toolkit to understand how faunal communities have changed over the past 20,000 years into today, and places these results in a modern conservation context.

Fossil Lab Manager, Rancho La Brea
Stephany Potze

As the Fossil Lab Manager Ms. Potze is responsible for the preparation and conservation of all the fossils at Rancho La Brea.

Preparator, Rancho La Brea
Karin Rice

As a Preparator at Project 23, Karin is responsible for excavating fossils, training volunteers and students and sharing her expertise with the public.

Collections Manager, Rancho La Brea
Gary Takeuchi

As Collections Manager, Mr. Takeuchi co-manages all of the fossils at Rancho La Brea.

Preparator, Rancho La Brea
Laura Tewksbury

As a Preparator at Project 23, Ms. Tewksbury is responsible for excavating fossils, training volunteers and students and sharing her expertise with the public.

Our Policies

We are part of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County. You can find more information about our positions, policies, and processes here.