Thursday, March 26, 2009

8 Days Around L.A. (with kids): Day 6 - La Brea Tar Pits

Smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles is a prehistoric pet cemetery where saber toothed tigers, ground sloths, and Wooly Mammoths who were unlucky enough to get stuck in asphalt ended up immortalizing themselves as fossils.

Yesterday I said we were going to see dinosaurs. I learned today that the dinosaurs had all died out by the time the asphalt started oozing up through fissures in the fault below the city. The animal bones we saw weren't from giant T-Rexes or pterodactyls, but from extinct creatures that look similar to animals we have today. Like this sloth:

and this bison:

and Wooly Mammoths:

It's strange to think that stuff like this is trapped in the ground below the giant buildings and billboards and busy-ness of L.A.:

Look, it's mama's little vulture. . .

These are skulls, not shoes:

This will probably give them nightmares:

McKenna kept growling at these:

We took a guided tour of the tar pits. We learned that the animals didn't drown in these pits, but got stuck, often in less than an inch of asphalt. When they cried out, other animals would come to eat them and end up getting stuck too. That must have sucked! Also, we learned that these big animal pile-ons were not a daily occurance but only happened a few times within a hundred year span, and only when the weather was hot enough to make it gooey. It's been going on for 40,000,000 years though, so there's plenty in there.

Sage listened while McKenna took off to explore.

Here's some bubblin' crude.

It's some people's job to wade through tar in search of bone fragments. Those crates above hold millions of bones waiting to be excavated.

That's the job of these people:

The kids found this giant creature:

And this little one:

See? L.A. has plenty of wildlife.


Anonymous said...

I've been loving all these Spring Break expeditions! Thanks for "taking us along".

What is Sage saying about all this? What is his favorite place so far?

Mom VH

Anonymous said...

We're loving these day trips too! I can't wait to get to the computer each day to see your latest post. McKenna is going to believe that Sage's spring break is a neat thing! You'll have a hard time keeping her entertained next week!
Love, MOM P said...

Oh how fun! I have always wanted to go there. Dirty Jobs did a segment there and it looked awesome!

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