Staff

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Dr. John HarrisChief Curator

Today, I am Head of Vertebrate Studies at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and have curatorial responsibility for the collections housed at the George C. Page Museum. I studied geology at the Universities of Leicester, Texas, and Bristol before becoming Director of Paleontology at the National Museums of Kenya in 1971. In 1980 I joined the staff at the Natural History Museum as Chief Curator of the Division of Earth Sciences. jharris@nhm.org

Dr. Kenneth CampbellCurator of Ornithology

Dr. Campbell has been a Curator at the Natural History Museum since 1977. His first duties were as Curator of the large collection of fossil birds from the Rancho La Brea tar pits at the newly opened George C. Page Museum, then as Curator of all fossil birds in the collections of the Natural History Museum. He has served as Curator of Birds, responsible for all collections of birds, both fossil and recent, since 1997. kcampbell@nhm.org

Aisling FarrellCollections Manager

As the Collections Manager at Rancho La Brea, I oversee one of the largest collections of late Pleistocene fossils in the world, as well as manage the day-to-day excavation of Project 23. I graduated from Imperial College London where my research focused on taxonomy and systematics using the collections of the Natural History Museum in London. I have both led and joined paleontology expeditions in Arizona, California, Montana, Utah, Ecuador and Mexico. I am dedicated to creating a well-curated and easily accessible collection for research, education, and for the protection of important specimens. afarrell@tarpits.org

Gary TakeuchiCuratorial Assistant

I started as a high school volunteer at Rancho La Brea in 1983 and went on to become the Senior Excavator of Pit 91 from 1999 -2000. I served as Curatorial Assistant from 2000-2003. Until recently, I was a Curatorial Assistant for the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and was also part of the Age of Mammals exhibition team. Over the years my career has taken me to do field work at Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert, California, Argentina, Inner Mongolia, China and Tibet. My research has mainly focused on fossil fish, but my interests include biostratigraphy, taphonomy, and microfossils. gtakeuch@nhm.org

Shelley CoxLaboratory and Volunteer Supervisor

As the Laboratory Supervisor in the Fishbowl Lab I supervise volunteers in the cleaning and preparing of all of the fossils recovered from Hancock Park. I graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1972 with a degree in History and began my association with the Museum as a volunteer a year later. The lab I oversee has grown in size since 1975, from a single A-frame design to more than four times its original size. The Fishbowl Lab gives Museum visitors a behind-the-scenes view of scientists and volunteers doing actual paleontology work. My research has focused primarily on the extinct short-faced bear and mammoths. scox@tarpits.org

Beau Campbell Assistant Lab Supervisor and Preparator

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology with a Minor in Geology from San Diego State University. I began my work at the Page Museum in Guest Relations, and then quickly started volunteering in the Research and Collections Division. While volunteering I performed various tasks including: excavating, preparing fossils in the Fishbowl Lab, identifying and cataloging Project 23 specimens. In my new position I prepare vertebrate fossils, sort microfossils found in the matrix, collaborate with other Museum staff, help with Museum programming and assist with supervising our volunteers. I love all things natural history and the possibility of discovering something new on a daily basis is so exciting! bcampbel@tarpits.org

Carrie HowardLead Preparator

My desire to do fieldwork originally brought me to volunteer at Rancho La Brea. Now I am the lead excavator at Project 23 where I oversee daily activities on site and co-ordinate with the Collections Manager. My bachelor's degree is in Earth Sciences and Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz. I love geology and am interested in studying the unique asphaltic sediments of RLB. Being an avid photographer, I enjoy documenting our work and am also excited about producing an annotated photographic notebook of RLB specimens for the field. choward@tarpits.org

Laura TewksburyPreparator

My educational background is in both Biology and American Sign Language Interpreting. After volunteering at the Page Museum for a few years in both the Fishbowl Lab and in Pit 91, I was thrilled to be chosen as a Preparator with the new Project 23 Excavation. After all, being the first person ever to see a particular fossil of an animal that died tens of thousands of years ago is a joy that never gets old, and helping to tell their story is even better! I love sharing my enthusiasm for science with museum guests of all ages. ltewksbu@tarpits.org

Karin RicePreparator

I'm a geologist by training with industry experience in environmental and engineering geology, and paleontological resource mitigation. I'm also a graduate student working on fault mapping in central Mongolia. I’ve always been drawn to natural history and fossils and have been lucky to have worked in paleontology since 2005: as a paleontological monitor on construction sites; as a fossil preparator in the Dino Lab at the Natural History Museum; and currently as an excavator for Project 23. Working on Project 23 is all about daily discovery. krice@tarpits.org

Sean CampbellPreparator

I graduated from San Diego State University with a major in Anthropology with an emphasis in human osteology and a minor in geology.  After graduating from SDSU, I began volunteering at Rancho La Brea which combines my passion for osteology and geology.  I also interned at the Milwaukee Public Museum under the Anthropology department and volunteered with an Archaeology program under the Forest Service in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.  As a Preparator, I have the extreme privilege of uncovering fossils and studying the skeletal structures of organisms from the distant past.  Working here broadens my horizons every day with new insights into paleontology, paleoecology and many other different fields of natural science.   I also love sharing everything I learn here with visitors from all over the world. scampbel@tarpits.org

Cathy McNassorArchivist

As Archivist for both the Natural History Museum and the George C. Page Musem, I work with the collections that focus on the history of the institutions, both past and present. I am keenly interested in the history of Paleontology in the western United States prior to 1950. Over the past 30 years, I have worked for the Museum in many capacities including exhibit design and installation, fossil collections management, and as a retail buyer for the gift shop. I have a B.A. in Fine Arts from Pitzer College and a Master's degree in Cultural Anthropology from California State University, Los Angeles. I am a member of the Society of California Archivists and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. mcnassor@nhm.org

Mammals

Click here for the list of mammal species from Rancho La Brea

Current Excavations

We excavate seven days a week at the tar pits, because of the extraordinary number of fossils still in the ground.

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