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The The Tar Tar Pits…

This late breaking news just in…

We just found out our upcoming grandchild is a BOY!

His name is Landon.

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Today we visited the La Brea Tar Pits, which strangely enough, is in the middle of Beverly Hills. And even stranger, or maybe funnier, The La Brea Tar Pits, actually translates as The The Tar Tar Pits, since “La Brea” means “The Tar”’ in Spanish. Thus the title of this blog.

Anyway, we got there about 11 and decided to eat lunch first at a Marie Callenders right next door, or as they call it in Beverly Hills, just ‘”Callenders”. Apparently ‘Marie’” isn’t fancy enough.

And this is not your average Marie Callenders.

MarieCallendars

And the food was really upscale too. We both had the Trio lunch plate, which consisted of a gorgonzola-pear salad with walnuts and cranberries, a choice of soup, (Jan had potato cheese, I had chicken tortilla) and a warm turkey/cheese sandwich on focaccia bread. It was all really good. And we were so full we didn’t even have room for pie…then.

After lunch we walked next door to the Tar Pits. Before we even crossed the street we could smell the asphalt in the air. And walking into the park we could see the results of the asphalt, or al least, the simulated results.

Tar Pit 2

The tar, along with methane gas, bubbles up from the ground and forms large pools. And it’s been doing this for tens of thousands of years. The oldest fossil found here has been dated to 38,000 years ago.

Tar Pit 1

Then rainwater and dirt/grass/leaves accumulate on the surface, masking the tar. Animals com down to drink and get mired in the muck. And sometimes predators come to feast on the “stuckees” and get stuck themselves. Thus a wide range or predators and prey have been excavated from the tar here.

Here is an excavation that’s been under way for years, and tens of thousands of fossils have been found.

Tar Pit 3

 

Here are the bones of a sabertooth cat that are in the process of being removed.

Tar Pit 4

 

Many of these animals were much larger than their contemporaries. Here is a medium-sized sloth. And being medium-size, this sloth was only 7 feet high and weighed 1800 pounds!

Sloth

 

And again,this ancient bison was much larger than the ones that live today.

Bison

 

This is an American camel, that become extinct over ten thousand years ago.

Camel

 

This is a mother Mastodon and her baby, found together in the tar.

Mastodon

 

And this is “Zed”, a 13 foot tall Columbian Mammoth, bigger than any elephant alive today

Mammoth

 

These are the bones of an American Lion, that was larger than any lion or tiger of today, and larger than the sabertooth cat from its own era.

American Lion

 

This is the skeleton of a horse. What’s different about this is that horses died out in the Americas thousands of years ago, and didn’t return until brought over by the Spanish explorers in the 1500’s.

Horse

 

This short-faced bear was enormous. Larger than any bear today, it was a foot taller than any grizzly and probably weighed a thousand pounds more.

Short-Faced Bear

 

And this is the sabertooth cat. Sometimes incorrectly called a sabertooth tiger, it is actually closer to today’s housecats, rather than tigers.

Sabertooth

 

This diorama shows a sabertooth trying to munch on a short-faced bear. I think the cat will probably end up as bear chow.

BearVsSabertooth

 

It was really amazing walking around here, thinking about all this going on right where we were standing 20 or 30 thousand years ago.

Leaving the Tar Pits we drove about a mile away to cruise the famous Rodeo Dr.

RodeoDr

We saw a lot of expensive cars, and a lot of shops with names we couldn’t pronounce.

Guess I should have been more impressed, but I wasn’t.

Tomorrow we’ll be attending two tapings of the Bonnie Hunt Show that will be shown Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

More later…

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