Sunday, April 9, 2006

La Brea Tar Pits

What LA may have looked like 40,000 years ago

During the last ice age, LA was a land of bubbling asphalt and roaming mammoths, mastodon, saber toothed cats, ground sloths, and other bizarre creatures. LA wasn't covered in ice, but it was about 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler and 10% more humid than it is today. The asphalt trapped these big animals and their remains became part of a hardened matrix of soil, sand and other sediment. In the early twentieth century, after LA was settled by homesteaders, scientists began excavating the area and realized that the fossils weren't of modern animals (as was previously thought), but prehistoric, extinct animals.

Today, La Brea Tar Pits, in the middle of LA, is home to a fun and interactive museum. A standard field trip destination for the elementary and middle school set, little kids ooh and aah at the thirteen foot tall Columbian Mammoth and plug their noses as they walk past the tar-smelling quarry. Excavation continues onsite and scientists are still discovering new species.


Columbian Mammoth

From left: American Mastodon (baby and adult) and Yesterday's Camel

Pit 91

Laboratory

6 comments:

hh said...

can you throw unwanted "things" into the tar pits? :)

ps i just voted for my favorite wham song and made it a three-way tie for first, but i was very tempted to vote for wham rap just because it's so crazy gay and clowny. "i am...a man!" (in falcetto) is just too too much...and with rhymes like "hey jerk you work!" HAHAHAHA. and i love how he "raps" the word "credibility" with all its syllables. what a gem.

chanchow said...

hh: i see you voted for Everything She Wants. don't tell anyone, but i voted for I'm Your Man twice, so really it's a two-way tie. after i posted the poll, i realized that it omitted my all-time favorite Wham! song: Freedom. i love love love that song to this day. the video was so awesome (wham! goes to china). i can't believe i forgot it.

junebee said...

Hey, the lab looks like a pit!

I remember visiting LA as a kid. I did not like those tar pits and they stank. I enjoyed the LA County Art Museum though which we saw on that trip also.

chanchow said...

i went to the tar pits on a sixth grade field trip. i don't remember anything from it, so i must not have liked it much. i think it's more fun going as an adult.

hh said...

ooooh busted!
i love that you're rigging your own poll. heehee.

Octopus Grigori said...

Best - pictures - EVER.