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The New York Times Discovers This Crazy Place Called the La Brea Tar Pits

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Every once in a while, The New York Times decides to turn its attention to the Best Coast, and this week the Grey Lady suggested checking out this bubbling asphalt pit full of prehistoric (or as we Angelenos refer to it B.F.: Before Freeways) fossils that are right smack-dab in the middle of the Miracle Mile. Isn't that insane?!!

No one expects to stumble across a cache of Picasso’s works in the middle of a desert. So who would think that just off bustling Wilshire Boulevard, tucked between the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the national headquarters of the Screen Actors Guild, lie buried some of the most exquisitely preserved fossils in the world?

They're right, it would be pretty weird if someone decided to take a bunch of the world's most famous art and dump in the middle of the Mojave or something (although now that you mention it, we do have an artist here trying to make his name burying his work in the desert). But buried human artwork and fossils aren't really the same thing, so the analogy doesn't really make sense. And even though Los Angeles sometimes masquerades as an ahistorical place, it's not really that weird to think about how there used to be animals roaming around here before our iconic freeways were built. Even today some of us do run into mountain lions on the freeway, and bears love to munch on the trash hill-dwellers leave out on trash day.Don't get us wrong, the angle about how these exquisitely preserved prehistoric fossils could shed some light on how climate change affects creatures is interesting. But it's not clear whether these revelatory fossils are from the most recent cache discovered in 2009 or if scientists are just looking at some of the older fossils everyone knows about in a new way.

But really what gets us is that the story sounds like the New York Times just had a revelation about how awesome the Tar Pits are—which is something a lot of Southern California kids (pre-budget cuts) learned on school field trips.

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The Times has a way of "discovering" things kind of like Columbus. Earlier this month a cultural critic at the Times discovered The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Palms that's been open since the 1980s and was the subject of a book "Mr. Wilson's Cabinet Of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology" that was a runner-up for a Pulitzer in 1995 and was written by a former New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Weschler. Sure, the author seemed sort of apologetic that he hadn't noticed it after all this time, but it's especially embarrassing after the Times poked fun at us for being so provincial.

So we're putting you on notice, New York Times. You gotta try a little harder to not fall so far behind next time.