How do paleontologists excavate fossils and what tools do they use? In this video from the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Lead Preparator Carrie Howard takes us behind-the-scenes of an excavation where the bones of a saber-toothed cat, a bison, a mastodon, and other now-extinct creatures are in a jumble: Excavation 101 at the tar pits in Los Angeles, California.

Kids (and adults) can try their own hands-on excavations with The Dig A Dino Excavation Kit 3 Pack and National Geographic’s Mega Fossil Mine with real fossils. We also love reading DK’s Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual History of Life on Earth.

Next: Fossil hunting in unexplored dinosaur country, woolly mammoth remains discovered in a Michigan field, In Search of Fossil Fish, and Google Glass in the Gobi.

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