Mammoths: Ice Age Giants

Natural History Museum

23 May – 7 September 2014

£4.50 with National Art Pass (standard entry £9)

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Skull casts and fossil jaws, teeth and tusks, as well as some of the oldest human art in existence, this exhibition reveals what life was like for the mammoth and the mastodon, two the most iconic mammals of the era.

Originating in Africa, the family tree of elephants, mammoths and mastodons can be traced back 55 million years.

Because they had different diets and did not compete for food, mastodons and mammoths were able to live in harmony during the Ice Age, with a mammoth consuming around 226 kilogrammes of vegetation every day.

The exhibition charts the key differences between these two creatures, for instance, revealing that mastodons were shorter and stockier than mammoths, with thicker bones and differently shaped tusks, as well as making comparisons with their present-day descendant – the elephant. It will also explore their social behaviour and ecology based on fossil evidence.

Human accounts of these great beasts are told through early artworks that depict mammoths, shown in the form of miniature carvings made from bone, stone and mammoth ivory that are thought to have been created between 35,000 and 10,000 years ago.

The exhibition was originally designed and shown at The Field Museum, Chicago and has also been display at the National Museum of Scotland.

Mammoths of the Ice Age from National Museums Scotland on Vimeo.

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A replica model of Lyuba, the 40,000-year old baby mammoth who was found in 2007 by a Siberian reindeer herder and two of his sons, is the best-preserved mammoth ever discovered.

Venue information

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5.50pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec

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