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La Brea Woman is the name for the only human whose remains have ever been found in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. The remains, first discovered in the pits in 1914, were the partial skeleton of a woman At around 18-25 years of age at death, she has been dated at 10,220–10,250 cal yr BP. and found associated with remains of a domestic dog, and so interpreted to have been ceremonially interred.
The remains used to be on display in the George C. Page Museum, alongside a life-sized model thought to resemble the woman. The exhibit was removed around 2004. The curator, John M. Harris, was concerned that this display of historic remains might offend Native Americans or attract unwanted attention to its Native American origins, thereby triggering a demand for their return.
In 2009, California forensic artist Melissa R. Cooper created a facial reconstruction based on her skull. The images resulted in controversy regarding their display in addition to ethical questions about the museum’s reason for keeping La Brea Woman in hiding.
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