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Ice Age hyena skeleton in the spotlight

Ice Age hyena bones

Exceptionally rare baby hyena bones go on display at Creswell Crags with funding from Tarmac 

FOR many people, the Ice Age conjures up images of woolly mammoths and sabre-tooth tigers, but hyenas were actually one of the most common animals in the Creswell Crags area of Nottinghamshire during Britain’s frozen past.

And to showcase one of the most complete Ice Age baby hyena skeletons ever found, Tarmac have funded a new exhibition called ‘Hyena!’

The exhibition at Creswell Crags Museum & Heritage Centre highlights the 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 creatures survived and thrived in Creswell’s caves around 40,000 years ago.

The star of the exhibition is an exceptionally rare baby hyena skeleton which was found in Creswell’s caves in the 1980s and is now on display at the museum for the first time.

Jane Ford explained: ‘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’s fantastic that it is now back where it lived and died, and on display for everyone to see.’

The exhibition has been made possible through funding from Tarmac, which has paid for a suitable display case for the skeleton.

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 the company 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 free exhibition, which runs until April 2016, also brings together a number of other finds from the site to reveal more about Creswell’s Ice Age hyenas, including fossilized hyena droppings and a gnawed lion tooth and woolly mammoth bone.

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