EARTH Magazine: Tiny traces reveal big secrets at LA’s Le Brea Tar Pits

Travels with the Blonde Coyote

Photo courtesy of the George C. Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries. Photo courtesy of the George C. Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries.

As many of you know, I don’t just write for fun. This is also how I make my living! If you’re curious about my science writing, my latest story for EARTH magazine just went live. This is one of my favorite pieces I’ve written for EARTH lately. I usually cover the geophysics beat – think earthquakes, plate tectonics and volcanoes – but every now and then I get to revisit my first geo-love: paleontology.

The La Brea tar pits in the middle of Los Angeles are known for turning up spectacularly preserved specimens of dire wolves, saber-tooth cats and woolly mammoths. But how long it took for the animals to sink down into the sticky tar after they became trapped has long been a mystery. Now a new study looking at the traces left by hungry bone-eating…

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