5 Coolest New Fossils Discovered in the La Brea Tar Pits (PHOTOS)

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Fri, Mar 11, 2011 at 6:00 PM
click to enlarge Anyone seen my vertebrae?
  • Anyone seen my vertebrae?

This was a tough race, considering 16,000 fossils have been pried from the ground beneath L.A.'s metropolitan Page Museum since 2007. The first round of catalogued bones was just announced Wednesday, and they've all got one thing in common: They're really ridiculously cool-looking.

But after chatting with collections manager Aisling Farrell for a spell (cool job, cool name, no biggie), we've managed to identify our five favorites --

All from 10,000 to 20,000 years ago, around the end of the last Ice Age.

So here they are, from cool to coolest, complete with big beautiful museum photos and the occasional factoid with which to impress the pensive chick with thick rims in the corner cubicle who deep-down wishes she'd grown up to be an archeologist a paleontologist:

5. Giant jaguar skull.

click to enlarge PAGE MUSEUM
  • Page Museum

What's not cool about a giant jaguar skull? Get a load of those sexy Shere Kahn eye sockets. Farrell says the panthera atrox -- the largest cat in history -- is one of her favorites, mostly due to its obscurity. "Carnivores, the world over, in the fossil record, are generally rare," she says. "This is our first real, most complete panthera. There are only a handful of them across North America."

And if that's not enough to turn you on: "There's still controversy and debate regarding its origins and its lifestyle," says Farrell.

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