The La Brea Tar Pits Are Full Of Bones

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The La Brea Tar Pits Are Full Of Bones

Between 11,000 and 50,000 years ago, thousands of animals became trapped in natural asphalt in the area that is now Los Angeles. Many died of hunger, thirst, or exhaustion after days of being stuck; others were preyed upon by dire wolves or saber-toothed cats, which often became stuck as well. Dire wolves, saber-toothed cats, and coyotes are the three most common animals that scientists have found in the tar, but the bones of more than 200 vertebrate species in total have been recovered, as well as several plants and invertebrates. The discovery of new asphalt deposits means that the collections at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum will only keep growing in the near future.

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from SciFri

Key Facts to Know

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    Thousands of years ago, animals became caught in the natural asphalt of the La Brea Tar Pits, and eventually died from exhaustion, hunger, or predation. 0:40

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    Evidence of healed injuries on dire wolf skeletons suggest that the wolves ran in packs. 2:07

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    Marks left by flesh-eating beetles on bones found in tar pits can help scientists determine how long the bones were above the tar. 4:34

The Sedlec Ossuary Is Decorated With Human Skeletons

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The Sedlec Ossuary Is Decorated With Human Skeletons

The Sedlec Ossuary is located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in the Czech Republic. Its origin story is a long one, beginning with an abbot in 1278 who sprinkled dirt from the Holy Land over the Sedlec cemetery. This act prompted a huge influx of people who wanted to be laid to rest there. The cemetery's popularity, as well as factors such as wars and the Black Plague, caused an excess of bodies to be delivered and buried. Skeletons were exhumed and stacked over time in the chapel beneath the church. In 1870, a woodcarver named František Rint was hired to organize the skeletons, and he created the macabre designs that now make up the ossuary.

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Key Facts to Know

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    The Sedlec Ossuary contains the remains of 40,000+ people, arranged into macabre decorations. 0:33

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    The chandelier at Sedlec Ossuary is said to contain at least one of every bone in the human body. 2:41

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    The coat of arms at Sedlec Ossuary features a raven made from human bones. 4:40

The Bones of the Hands and Feet

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The Bones of the Hands and Feet

The bones in the fingers and toes are called phalanges. They're connected to the metacarpals in your hands, and the metatarsals in your feet. The wrist is made up of carpals, while the back of the foot is made up of tarsals. Just two of these tarsals—the calcaneus and the talus—bear most of the body's weight.

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Key Facts to Know

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    Humans have endoskeletons, which allow us to grow larger and have greater mobility than animals with exoskeletons. 2:06

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    Andreas Vaselius is credited with introducing human dissection to medical studies, and would dismember corpses in front of his students. 5:10

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    Each year, 10% of your skeleton is broken down and rebuilt in a process called bone remodeling. 10:02

Why Don't Sharks Have Bones?

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Why Don't Sharks Have Bones?

Sharks are completely boneless. Instead of bones, sharks have skeletons made up of cartilage. A cartilage skeleton has its advantages: it is flexible, durable and light, and also heals faster than bone. That said, once a shark is out of water, the cartilage skeleton works against them. They can easily be crushed by their own body weight on land -- because sharks lack rib cages, their weight isn't supported out of water, and their bodies would collapse over time.