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Ice age politics

Why did the big mammals suddenly die out in America? Was it climate change or slaughter by native Americans? An event of more than 11,000 years ago is refracted through the lens of modern politics

By Matt Ridley   9

Halfway along wilshire Boulevard, between Beverly Hills and the Wilshire country club, there is a tiny park called Hancock park with a little pond in it. The pond looks quaint enough, until you notice the sheen on the surface and the viscous bubbles that occasionally break that sheen. It is a natural seepage of oil, known as the La Brea Tar pit. A museum stands in the park and in it are the bones of all the animals that have been dredged from the swamps that once surrounded the site. There are wild camels, wild horses, mastodons, sabre-toothed tigers, wolves,…

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