Tuesday, June 14, 2011

La Brea Pits

On Suki's excellent advice we went to see the tar pits, and happened right into a tour of the various locations of the actual tar, where it seeps up from underground. Apparently people from the surrounding area call the museum once in a while, asking them to "get your tar out of my yard", etc. It's an oil-deposit -- a site where thick black oil has been naturally bubbling up for many many millenia. It's not going to stop any time soon, I expect. And we got to see the results of about a hundred years of digs: fossils, bones, history. Very very interesting.

It just looks like a soft spot on the soil; maybe an old campfire. But when you step on it it squishes under your shoe. It's oil. It's the beginning of a new oil seed.

Eventually it may look something like this one, a little further into the park, and fenced off quite thoroughly.

Some floating statues illustrate the miserable deaths of the many many animals who perished, here.
And now their bodies are exhumed, bit by bit,
...and cleaned, studied, classified, preserved,
...and sorted.
For our learning pleasure.

The displays are really amazing.

This is the skeleton of a ground sloth.

And they put on a great bit of sabre-tooth drama for us, as well.

We got right in the belly of the thing, as it were...
We all agreed that, for the money spent (less than half the cost of the San Diego Zoo or the Monterey Bay Aquarium), the La Brea Tar Pits was definitely the best paid-for attraction we saw on this trip.

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