Showcasing one of the most complete Ice Age baby hyena skeletons ever found, Tarmac has funded an exciting, new exhibition, 'Hyena!'
When you think of the Ice Age, you might conjure up images of woolly mammoths, sabre-tooth cats and reindeer – but do you ever think of hyenas? Although it may seem hard to believe, hyenas were one of the most common animals at Creswell Crags in the Ice Age. The exhibition showcases the exciting, current research being undertaken by Jane Ford of The University of Sheffield which is helping to piece together a more complete picture of how these fascinating creatures survived and thrived in Creswell’s caves around 40,000 years ago.
The star object is an exceptionally rare baby hyena skeleton found in Creswell’s Caves, which is on display at the museum for the very first time. Jane explains, ”This little animal, just a few months old, would have spent most of its short life inside or very close to the cave, and to discover it thousands of years later in such a good state of preservation is incredible. I think it is fantastic that it is now back where it lived and died, and on display for everyone to see."
Facial reconstruction and illustration of one of the most complete Ice Age baby hyena skeletons ever found ©Beth Windell
The exhibition has been made possible through funding from Tarmac that has bought a suitable display case for the skeleton. Although the baby hyena was found in the 1980s, it has never before been on display at Creswell Crags. Tarmac Estates Manager, David Atkinson, who is also a Trustee Director of the Creswell Heritage Trust, said: “With Tarmac having a quarry at Whitwell, a near neighbour to the Crags, I am very proud that Tarmac has sponsored this hyena exhibition. This is incredible research and the Creswell Heritage Trust will continue to manage and protect this very important archaeological site.”
The exhibition also brings together a number of other finds from the site to reveal more about Creswell’s Ice Age hyenas, including hyena coprolites (fossilised droppings) and a gnawed lion tooth and woolly mammoth bone. The exhibition is beautifully brought to life with illustrations by Natural History Illustrator, Beth Windle.
The exhibition runs from 24th October until April 2016 and admission is free.
For more information, please visit www.creswell-crags.org.uk.