Sunday, July 29, 2012

Childhood Expectations and Adult realities

La Brea Tar Pits were all I wanted them to be until the lady said stuff does not pop out but rather has to be cut out, dug out, scraped out of this icky gooey, hard compacted asphalt like stuff that goes deep into the ground. 


But what a place.  Smells of tar, methane gas bubbles up, places all over the grounds are fenced because the stuff oozes still.  Animals still are caught in the muck.  Sadly a mating pair of falcons that were after a mourning dove died this year.  No large mammals have wandered in, only a few small children.


It is amazing to see and appreciate the magnitude of the place.  Only mammals, all extinct.  Only one human has been found and she appears to have been buried. 


They recently built a new parking garage next to the pit area and low and behold they ran into huge fossil deposits.  They took huge boxes and I mean 12 feet tall boxes and moved them so the fossils can now be released from the black, tar, asphalt gooey stuff.  The bones of one animal do not stay together so they need to dig through lots and lots of different areas to find the whole fossil.  


Just know that any really really dark brown extinct mammal fossils probably came from this project.  They share their fossils with the world. 


What was I expecting?  A mastodon to pop out of the black goo. 


What did I find?  A very complex, very interesting history lesson.  A chance to see our past in a different way.  I love this sort of stuff.   I don't ever want to not be interested in what I see.







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