Collections through Cake: Fossil Diving Beetle


I know what you’re thinking… YUK! But this specimen is no dung beetle. This is a FOSSILISED diving beetle from the La Brea Tar Pits near Los Angeles.

The diving beetle is taxonomically known as Cybister explanatus. It is from the family Dytiscidae – diving beetles from this family are all predators. According to ‘That Internet’ C. explanatus is edible and is commonly eaten roasted in tacos in Mexico.

Lucy’s fossilised diving beetle cake!

The La Brea Tar Pits are fascinating just in themselves. Unlike C. explanatus, many of the animals excavated from the tar pits are now extinct, such as the giant ground sloth or the sabre-toothed tiger. Over 3.5 million specimens make up the collections specific to La Brea. 

Current excavations are looking specifically for the microfossils, such as beetles and plants. You can explore the specimens at Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. 

One of the reasons I love the #MusCake project so much is that it really helps us see what amazing specimens there are across all our collections.

By First World War Projects Curator Lucy Moore
@CuratorLucy

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