Wandering and Wondering

Exploring the wonders of Science in everyday life!

Llamas, goats, and sheep! Oh my!

Yesterday’s Wonder on wonderopolis.org was “Do Llamas Really Spit?” (http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/do-llamas-really-spit/), and I can answer this one from personal experience–YES!

My aunt lives on a farm up in central Oregon, and she has a Llama named Vicki. Llamas are usually kept on farms with sheep and goats to keep watch over the flock. They are very alert and strong, and will help the flock avoid coyotes and other things that might gobble them up.

Llamas can be really nice, but Vicki is not one of those nice llamas…except with my aunt. She will spit and hiss at you if you get too close! However, she does a great job of protecting the flock and keeping her “babies” safe.


My aunt raises goats and sheep primarily for their fiber. She is an avid knitter and even dyes and spins her own wool to make yarn! We are heading up to her farm next week for Spring Break, and I can’t wait to see all the creations she has made!


How about you? Do you know anyone who lives on a farm? What kind of animals have you seen on a farm other than llamas, goats, and sheep? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!


La Brea Tar Pits!

Over the long weekend, my cousin Angela came down from Reno with her husband and two kids, Parker and Tabitha, to go to Disneyland. Before they went to the Magic Kingdom, they came to spend the day in Los Angeles with me and my husband! We started out the day at one of my favorite places, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Page Museum.

The La Brea Tar Pits are teeming with fossils from 10,000-40,000 years old. There are no dinosaurs at the Museum, but there are some amazing skeletons of mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and dire wolves! These tar pits are some of the richest fossil deposits in the world, and they are actively excavating and unearthing new specimens every day.

The tar pits were first excavated in 1901, although there had been reports of the tar deposits since the mid-18th century. Between 1913 and 1915, 96 sites were excavated, yielding over 750,000 specimens of plants and animals!

impact Episode 49: Tar Pits from USC Impact on Vimeo.

The Page Museum has a very cool feature, known as the “Fish Bowl”, where you can watch actual volunteers and scientists methodically clean the fossils. Since we were there on a holiday, there wasn’t anyone working in the fish bowl, but Tabitha was wondering how they cleaned such delicate animals like insects. On the LBTP website, there is a great feature on excavation that talks about how they clean all their specimens. http://www.tarpits.org/la-brea-tar-pits/excavation-101