Wilshire corridor

World gets scarier for evolution deniers

Fossils work
Researchers at the George C. Page Museum have excavated a major new deposit of Ice Age fossils adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits — found under the former May Co. parking structure at Wilshire and Fairfax in the Miracle Mile district. A nearly intact skeleton of a Columbian mammoth — tusks included — is the highlight of the find the museum calls "the largest known cache of fossils from the last ice age." Also uncovered have been fossils of saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, lion, camel, bison, lynx and smaller animals such as turtles, snails and clams. The Page already had the world's biggest collection of such fossils, extracted from the gooey asphaltum that underlies the Page, LACMA and pretty much everything else around the tar pits. Thomas Maugh, the L.A. Times archaeology specialist, gets into the details of the new dig, which will be officially announced Wednesday.

Bit of mid-city geography: The 23-acre Hancock Park where the tar pits are located is more than a mile west of the community of the same name. Both take their name from the Hancock family, which used to extract and sell the tar and lived for a time in an adobe house beside the pools. Their Rancho La Brea extended from Wilshire to the Hollywood Hills. With the money they made selling off the acreage that became Hollywood, they built a mansion at Wilshire and Vermont that was so grand some rooms are preserved on the campus at USC.

Sorta semi-related: Also Wednesday, I'm talking about the history of the tar pits and other stuff from Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles, along with researcher Eric Lynxwiler, at a UCLA Library Associates gathering at 4 p.m. Later in the evening, Angel City Press celebrates the publication of its newest book, "Santa Monica Pier: A Century on the Last Great Pleasure Pier" by James Harris, at the pier's carousel.

More by Kevin Roderick:
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LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
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Dig this! La Brea fossils are ready for their close-up


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