Mammuthus Expeditions is an expedition program dedicated to salvaging fossils that have lain encased in the Siberian permafrost for tens of thousands of years.
Through studying this rare and fragile heritage we stand to learn much about our planet. In deciphering the fossils’ secrets we gain valuable tools to advance several areas of major scientific investigation today, notably in the Environmental Sciences: climate change, the mechanisms of biodiversity, evolution of species and ecological shifts.
Siberian terra incognita
The range of biodiversity at the end of the Pleistocene (including the mammoth, rhinoceros, horse, wolf and many other species) lies preserved in the frozen Arctic soil. The conservation of specimens is exceptional due to many factors unique to Siberia, including the extreme cold and geology of the region’s soil. Operating in these remote regions requires specialized knowledge and experience.
An encounter between explorer Bernard Buigues and Professor Yves Coppens fifteen years ago first gave rise to the idea for Mammuthus Expeditions. Combining passions for exploration and science with the heritage of this mythical polar region, the adventure to unveil the Siberian terra incognita was born.
A heritage in peril
Exploration and Science are today facing a new challenge – the fossils themselves are under threat. Climate change is affecting the natural equilibria of the tundra. The Arctic summers are lasting longer, accelerating the thawing of the permafrost as well as exposing the millennia-old relics to the ravages of the elements and human trafficking.The Mammuthus team is running in a race against the clock.