National Museum of Scotland plans mammoth exhibit

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The iconic mammals of the Ice Age are to take centre-stage in a major new exhibition in Scotland next year.

• National Museum of Scotland unveils exhibition of mammoth and mastadon skulls as well as ancient human art

• Exhibit is joint venture with Field Museum of Chicago

The National Museum of Scotland has revealed that it has secured a vast collection of mammoth and mastadon skull casts and fossil jaws, teeth and tusks, as well as some of the oldest human art in existence.

The museum, in Edinburgh, has joined forces with the Field Museum of Chicago, which created the exhibition, to bring it out of the United States for the first time since it was unveiled three years ago.

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

The exhibition, Mammoths of the Ice Age, will give visitors the chance to trace the family tree of elephants back around 55 million years to their origins in Africa.

Mammoths and mastodons lived side by side with humans for thousands of years and proved to be a source of food for early people as well as artistic inspiration. Early artwork which dates from between 35,000 and 10,000 years ago will go on display in the form of miniature carvings made of bone, stone and mammoth ivory.

Nick Fraser, keeper of natural sciences at the museum, said: “The Ice Age was a fascinating period and we are excited to show how scientists have used a variety of evidence to reconstruct the lifestyles of these remarkable animals.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors to this great exhibition and hope that they find these colossal mammoths as awe-inspiring as our predecessors did.”

Mammoths of the Ice Age will be at the National Museum of Scotland from 25 January until 20 April next year.