Home » Exhibitions » Exhibition Review : Mammoths: Ice Age Giants at the Natural History Museum, from 23 May until 7 September 2014

Exhibition Review : Mammoths: Ice Age Giants at the Natural History Museum, from 23 May until 7 September 2014

lyuba

Meet the most complete woolly mammoth ever found in Mammoths: Ice Age Giants at the Natural History Museum, from 23 May until 7 September. This family exhibition explores her ice age world and is the first time the one-month-old infant has been shown in western Europe.
The baby mammoth is 85 centimetres tall and 130 centimetres long, similar in size to a large dog. She was discovered in Russia’s Yamal Peninsula of Siberia in May 2007, and died around 42,000 years ago at just one month old. Her body was buried in wet clay and mud then froze, preserving it until she was found by reindeer herder Yuri Khudi and his sons, as they were searching for wood along the frozen Yuribei River some 42,000 years later. Within a few days of being found she was sent to the Shemanovsky Museum – Exhibition Complex in Salekhard, Russia and named Lyuba (pronounced Loo- ba) after Yuri’s wife, meaning love in Russian.
The exhibition will take you on an  journey from the time when these titans roamed the land through to today’s research into the causes of mammoth extinction and ways to protect their precious modern relative, the elephant. Meet some of the best-known species, from the infamous woolly mammoth and the spiral-tusked Columbian mammoth to their island-dwelling relative the dwarf mammoth.  Discover prehistoric giants such as the mastodon, the fearsome sabre-tooth cat and the giant cave bear. Find out how they evolved, consider how they finally went extinct and unearth the latest research into whether they can ever be resurrected.

Visiting London Guide Review

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For an exhibition that is about Ice Age Giants, it is one of the smaller exhibits that steals the show. Lyuba the baby mammoth who died 42,000 years ago gives us a clear idea of what a real mammoth looks like, its preservation under the ice in Siberia allowed much of its body tissue to survive.

Humans and mammoths lived at the same period, Cave drawings by early humans  show woolly mammoths were hunted by Neanderthals, and later Homo sapiens. It is due too this relationship and the fact that Mammoths only became extinct 4,000 years ago that we know a great deal about the Mammoths.

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This knowledge is displayed in the exhibition with life size models of the woolly mammoth and the spiral-tusked Columbian mammoth to their island-dwelling relative the dwarf mammoth.  Other prehistoric giants include  the mastodon, the fearsome sabre-tooth cat and the giant cave bear.

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These models give some idea of how big these creatures were, the ancestral mammoth, steppe mammoth and Columbian mammoth are considered the largest species: they grew up to 4 metres tall at the shoulder.

To illustrate the size there is Columbian mammoth thigh bone (femur) which is over a metre in length and weighing 40 kilogrammes and Columbian mammoth skull and tusks which grew up to 4.8 metres long.

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But not all mammoths were giants, Cretan mammoths were the smallest mammoths at barely more than a metre at shoulder height.

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The exhibition is aimed at adults and children with a mixture of exhibits that show the world of  a mammoth and a  number of interactive elements that lets you replicate some of the mammoths behaviour. There is a number of screens around the exhibition to give a multimedia approach with historical footage of Lyuba’s discovery and computer graphics of mammoths in their natural habitat.

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Although  the exhibition plays on the giants aspect, the science behind the mammoths is equally interesting and provides some indicators to how the mammoths nearest relative, the elephant developed.

This is likely to be a very popular exhibition and will appeal to adults and children alike, it is not often you can come face to face with a real baby mammoth with Lyuba the star of the exhibition.

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Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Dates and times: Opens 23 May to 7 September 2014,

10.00–17.50 (last admission 17.15)

Admission:  Adult £10*, child and concession £6*, family £28* with Giftaid

Adult £9, child and concession £5.40, family £25

Free for Members, Patrons and children under four

For further information and to book , visit the Natural History Website here


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