Lion, Mammoth and Co.

An ice-age safari

Lion, Mammoth and Co.

An ice-age safari

November 25th until April 22th, 2018

Go on safari in the Europe of the last ice age! Meet the “big five” of the ice-age steppe: the mammoth, cave lion, woolly rhinoceros, aurochs and cave bear await you on your trip. In the safari lodges, explore the world of the ice age: what was the environment in which animals and humans lived? How were people able to survive? Is the next ice age coming soon? How does climate change caused by humans differ from natural changes?

The “mammoth steppe” to be explored extended south of the glacial masses in Europe and Asia in the ice age: a forest-free vegetation with grasses, herbs and shrubs. These vast expanses were the habitat of many large mammals, e.g. such as the woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, giant deer, cave bear, bison, reindeer, musk ox and horse. To eat, these animals had to undertake long migrations. A grown mammoth had to eat around 180 kg per day, but also dropped around 100 kg faeces per day. Through the dung, nutrients were returned to the steppe – a perfect cycle. With the warming at the end of the ice age, however, most ice-age animals lost their nutritional basis and disappeared together with the mammoth steppe.

In the Neanderthal Museum, the mammoth steppe is now brought back to life: learn tracking in the steppe by day, listen to the stories around the campfire at night, and visit archaeologists in their laboratory. A safari action pack is available for children; for adults, the visit can be extended with an ice-age travel guide and the exhibition app which is available for free. The film sequences in the app show detailed festive and everyday scenes from ice-age life. They have been shot with actors in the Swabian Alps, where ice-age caves carry the status of UNESCO world heritage sites due to their rich cultural heritage.

For our ice-age safari, the animals have been brought back to life by leading model makers from Europe: Ramon López i Ayats from Barcelona and Remie Bakker from Rotterdam. Initially they created small miniature models to determine the position and expression of the animal. Bone finds, cave paintings and rare discoveries of frozen ice-age animals from Siberia allow reconstruction of the appearance. The sculptors then modelled a deceptively real figure of the animal. This was then cast in synthetic resin or silicone and treated again in many further work stages. The dense hair of some animals was even stuck in individually! Fortunately, most of the animals are hollow inside, as the weight of a “real” mammoth would be too heavy for the museum floor.

An exhibition in cooperation with Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim.