The The Tar Tar Pits

Look out people, we're nearing the end now! 

This time we're at an important place we nearly forgot about until our families reminded us. 

The La Brea Tar Pits! One of the most incredible paleontological finds anywhere, right in the middle of downtown LA. Even though LA doesn't really have a downtown, because there is no centre from which to go down, but anyway.

So guess what! "La Brea" is a Spanish phrase meaning..."the tar"! So the title of this post is in fact a clever pun, instead of a brief lapse into severe dyslexia. 


The tar awaits...

The pits are in the middle of fancy suburbia, at a large-ish park set aside just for them and their study. Aren't they special. We happened upon this pretty quickly - looked like tar, bubbled like tar, smelled like tar, so we assumed it was tar.

Wandered around a bit - that's the Page museum, specifically built to showcase all the tar things found.

And right next to the Tar Park was the LA County Museum of Art. No bueno. Tar it is.

Some of the pits they had open with observing platforms and windows and descriptions.

Coloured flags showed where different bones from different things were found.

That looks like fun.

The Page museum was small, but really well set out and interesting.

Here they had some covered tar and you had to pull up the metal pole.... on the side there it says something along the line of 'come feels what it's like to die in tar', which was all nice and cheery and not horrible at all.

WEAAAAK. Okay, just "trapped", whatever. "die" is implied.

While we're at this morbid point, we may as well discuss what makes these tar pits so special; there are pits in other parts of this world, but these are the only ones that capture entire living, ancient ecosystems. Animals get stuck, their screaming and thrashing attracts all the carnivores and bugs, and they die with the animal. So a mammoth would be surrounded by fossils of sabertooths, dire wolves, big cats etc. plus a crapload of critters. They've found millions of specimens so far, and they have a helluva lot of stories to tell.
Ancient bison.

Ancient sloth.

Ancient mammoth.
Wall of dire wolf skulls.

Fun fact: Blogger has just screwed with me too many times, deleted everything too many times, won't place anything where I want it too many times. If I go calm down for a couple days every time that happens, this will never get done. So here are the pictures, with basically none of the information that makes any of it interesting, but this is my caring face.

Start of a guided tour - a busker bloke out the front who's making up tar ditties since the 70s. 

Tar is sticky, it turns out.

Someone's pelvis, some one else's skull.

"...also, snails." 

Inside: real science!

They wouldn't look up when we tapped on the glass... 

Surprise inside rainforest!

Surprise turtle!

More waiting for Lizzie and Ellie in the gift shop time!

Entertaining myself.

Found this top bloke.

Time for more calming down. You know how I love spending more time in LA than I need to!


Thank you for your patience, and until next time...

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