Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Natural World is a Brutal World at the Page Museum - La Brea Tar Pits

I don't want you to think I'm glib when it comes to the circle of life, especially at the La Brea Tar Pits, where the struggle to survive while stuck in a pool of tar is one of the more distressing life's-end scenarios. But some of the Page Museum's exhibits are inarguably campy. Which is fine—it's in the heart of Los Angeles—America's dream factory after all.

It's been a long time since I've visited the tar pits. Money has poured in from somewhere over the years because the museum now features a lovely garden atrium to stroll through and teams of researchers, pulling up buckets of bones from the surrounding grounds and brushing them under microscopes in fishbowl-like laboratories where you, the public, are invited to witness the archiving of ice-age lifeforms. And that's pretty entertaining.

Enjoy this saber-toothed cat attacking a ground sloth animatronic diorama. At some point they'll both be extinct, so it's not like the saber-tooth "wins" ultimately. He or she was simply hungry. And doesn't hunger drive us all? We are all hungry, hungry animals.

Never underestimate the influence of artist Jeff Koons on our natural history museums, especially for large-scale sculpture exhibits.

Here's saber-tooth and a ground sloth fossils, unearthed from the tar, with the atrium in the background. Time keeps keeping on.

What did a wooly mammoth sound like? Thanks to this footage from the Page Museum, now you know.

No comments: