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Mammoth exodus

Posted by Rose Sep 5, 2014

They are leaving. We have until Sunday evening to enjoy the Mammoths:Ice Age Giants exhibition here in the Museum's Waterhouse Gallery.

 

It has felt good having these enigmatic creatures and their friends and relatives with us over the summer and a privilege to showcase baby Lyuba. Many thousands of visitors have loved stepping into their world, if only for a brief while, to learn about their lives and legacy. And the exhibition has far exceeded our expectations.

lyuba-face-1500.jpgBaby face: Little Lyuba, the world's most complete mammoth, returns to northern Siberia next week after the Mammoths exhibition closes here on Sunday 7 September.

 

After the gallery doors shut on Sunday, the exhibition will be dismantled and most of it makes it way to Cleveland, USA, where it opens next.

 

The precious Lyuba specimen, however, flies back to the Shemanovsky Museum in Salekhard, Russia. But not before our mammoth experts Adrian Lister and Tori Herridge sneak a closer scientific look on Monday, when she's out of her display case. Adrian will also grab the chance to examine the massive Columbian mammoth skull specimen (below) before it goes.

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This enormous Columbian mammoth's skull and tusks were dug up in 1960 in Wyoming. Our mammoth expert Adrian Lister will take a closer look before it leaves us.

 

Enjoy a few last exhibition highlights in these pictures.

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Neverending tusks: After Sunday most of the specimens and models will be packed up in 11 enormous shipping containers to sail away to Cleveland, USA, where the exhibition opens next.
mammoth-man-tall.jpgLost in mammoth space... The exhibition has been a hit with kids and adults alike.
mammoths-cat-1500.jpgChildren rush voraciously to touch the big ice age models in the exhibition and be photographed with the iconic beasts (but bear in mind Lyuba can't be touched or photographed as she is the real thing and too fragile).

 

Accompanying the exhibition this summer have been the entertaining Mammoths workshops, which continue to run through the autumn.

mammoths-workshop-kids-1500.jpgMore interactive fun continues at our drop-in Hands on Mammoths workshops through the autumn.

 

You can find out more about why mammoths disappeared in our Last of the Mammoths video on YouTube. And there are amazing exhibits lurking in our permanent Mammals gallery, including London's Ilford mammoth.

 

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I wonder what's going to happen on Monday evening, 28 February, when bestselling fiction writer Jean M Auel and the Museum's esteemed human evolution expert Professor Chris Stringer meet to talk about ice age cave clans? Will flint sparks fly? Will they share a drink from ritualistic skull-cups?

 

We're not entirely sure of the details of their conversation, but the theme will certainly be earthy.

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Ayla and Jondalar - the main characters in Jean M Auel's latest book - as depicted in the book's film trailer. Her popular Earth's Children series follows the epic story of Cro-Magnons and Neanderthal cave dwellers in ice age Britain. She talks to Chris Stringer about the books here on 28 February

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Our event, Jean M Auel in Conversation, marks the release of the sixth and final book in the author's popular Earth's Children historical fiction series. The Land of Painted Caves is published on 29 March and is a highly-anticipated book for Jean Auel readers - the finale they've been waiting 30 years for. The fifth book appeared in 2002, and the first, The Clan of the Cave Bear, came out in 1980 .

 

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Jean Auel (left) is well-known for her meticulous research of archaeological findings in preparation of her novels and Chris Stringer (below) is the Museum's leading palaeoanthropologist with extensive knowledge of human evolution and the ancient human occupation of Britain.

 

Chris told me: 'I first remember meeting Jean at a human evolution conference in New York in 1984. I was able to spend more time with her when she co-sponsored another conference, in Santa Fe, in 1986. I have a lot of contact with the public through the talks I give and the enquiries I answer. Jean’s books regularly come up as having first inspired an interest in prehistory or as the source of an enquiry about some aspect of our evolutionary past.


'Palaeoanthropology is a fast-moving field, where new finds make us constantly update our ideas about ancient people like the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons who feature in Jean’s books. So I look forward to discussing with her how we both meet the challenges of these advances of knowledge in our research and writing about the past.'

 

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Jean Auel's publicist, Kerry Hood from Hodder, says: ‘I know that Jean is fantastically excited about coming to London to talk about the Earth’s Children series, and the last book. She is also really looking forward to renewing her very good acquaintance with Professor Stringer.’

 

After Jean and Chris converse, the audience will get the chance to ask questions. This is followed by an author signing session.

 

I've also just heard that the Gough's Cave human skull-cup replica will be on show at the event before it goes on public display in the Museum. Chris Stringer and the 14,700 human skull-cup discoveries have been receiving lots of recent media attention. So this is a rare treat for Jean Auel fans.

 


Find out about the Jean M Auel in Conversation event

 

Book tickets for Jean M Auel in Conversation - £10, starts at 19.30 on 28 February

 

Discover more about the human skull-cups and human evolution

 

Read the recent news story about the Earliest human skull-cups in the UK

About Earth's Children

For those of you may not know Jean Auel's Earth's Children, the series of historical novels traces the prehistoric adventures of Ayla, a young blue-eyed, blonde-haired Cro-Magnon (early human) orphan girl. In the first book, Ayla is adopted by a Neanderthal clan after a cataclysmic earthquake. The story is set in a harsh ice age landscape, about 30,000 years ago. In The Land of Painted Caves - the final forthcoming book -  Ayla is now a woman and a mother. With her young daughter Jonayla and loving mate Jondalar they face new challenges in the land of the Zelandonii.

 

Find out more about The Land of Painted Caves and the series and watch the official trailer for the new book