“On the track of the Great Apes” - Exhibition by the National Museum of Natural History

Established in 1793, the National Museum of Natural History is dedicated to nature and its relations with the human species. The Museum is placed under the authority of both the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Environment. The Museum’s collections comprise more than 68 millions specimens, including 350,000 mammals and birds, 400 000 reptiles and amphibians, 700,000 fish species, 50 millions invertebrates including 44 millions insects. Each year, over ten new species from all over the world enrich the Museum’s collections.

“On the track of the Great Apes”
An exhibition by the National Museum of Natural History

Paris, 11th February 2015– 21st March 2016

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The National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) is organizing an exhibition entitled “On the track of the Great Apes” at the Jardin des plantes in Paris from 11th February 2015 to 21st March 2016. This event is intended to raise public awareness on the behavior of the Great Apes in the tropical forest as well as the threats they face today as a result of the degradation of their habitat, poaching, trafficking, diseases …

Established in 1793, the National Museum of Natural History is dedicated to nature and its relations with the human species. The Museum is placed under the authority of both the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Environment.

The Museum’s collections comprise more than 68 millions specimens, including 350,000 mammals and birds, 400 000 reptiles and amphibians, 700,000 fish species, 50 millions invertebrates including 44 millions insects. Each year, over ten new species from all over the world enrich the Museum’s collections.

The mission of the Museum is five-fold :

1. Conservation – The Museums’ naturalist collections and documentations are among the world’s foremost. They provide a wealth of research material for scientists at the Museum and around the planet. The preservation and enrichment of this invaluable heritage is a priority for the Institution.

2. Research – Whether in the laboratory or in the field, Museum researchers cover a wide range of topics, exploring minerals, plants and animals, as well as the link between humans and nature, to better grasp their history and diversity.

3. Higher education - In keeping with its early vocation, the Museum offers Masters and Doctoral degrees, a professional undergraduate diploma and continuing education for teachers. The establishment’s multidisciplinary, naturalist approach relies largely on its collections and research potential.

4. Expertise - As a scientific authority on biodiversity and monitoring, the Museum provides specialist expertise to governments at local, national, European and global levels, as well as to the private sector.

5. Public Awareness - The dissemination of scientific knowledge is a longstanding tradition at the Museum. Its exhibitions, cultural and scientific communication at twelve locations (botanical and zoological gardens, museums and galleries) are designed to raise awareness of past, present and future environmental issues and promote eco-citizenship through the understanding of nature.

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The Exhibition - “On the track of the Great Apes”

A five-part Exhibition
The first three parts introduce the six species of the Great Apes (chimpanzee, bonobo, western gorilla, eastern gorilla, Bornean orangutan, Sumatran orangutan) from the angle of their morphological characteristics, their evolution and the history of the sciences. The forth part, the main of the Exhibition, takes the visitors into a fictitious and amazing forest where they will discover the daily life of the great apes in their environment : social life, locomotion in trees or on the ground, making a nest to rest, communication, using tools to find food …and the way researchers are discovering their fascinating behaviors.
The fifth part illustrates the threats Great Apes face and proposes some possible intervention actions to save them and to preserve their unique habitat, the tropical forests.

An intense research
At the National Museum of Natural History, the great apes are a subject of very intense research and multidiscipline approach. Thanks to the numerous scientists involved - such as the Primatologist Sabrina Krief, working since 18 years in Uganda on wild chimpanzees and the ethnologist Serge Bahuchet, specialist of African societies, – the exhibition unveils the lasted scientific discoveries. The visitor will discover the works of researchers throughout the tour.

An urgent matter to address
Today, all the great apes are threatened. In order to act fast and save them from extinction in the near future, the Exhibition highlights the threats faced by great Apes and their habitat, the tropical forests.

A fun-filled and immersive museography
The exhibition offers the visitors a walk into the tropical forest, in an immersive décor, punctuated with light games, ambient sounds and big audiovisual projections. Interactive and fun interfaces give the key concepts to the visitors.

Great apes specimens and life-size sculptures
The exhibition offers a selection of naturalized animals from the Museum’s collection and partner museums. Several naturalized specimens and mounted skeletons of great apes in varying positions have been specially arranged for this exhibition. Three realist life-size sculptures of chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan welcome the visitor to the first part of the exhibition. Ethnological and historical objects have been taken out of the Museum’s reserve to illustrate the relations between man, the great apes and the forest.

Other events

Two other exhibitions

• “Primatologists”, a photo exhibition from Jean-Michel Krief, in free-access in the Jardin des Plantes (11/02-11/05 2015)
From the field in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic to the lab and the Muséum zoo “La Ménagerie”, 100 exceptional photos to discover and share the work of the Muséum researchers on the track of great apes.

• “Singeries” at the “Cabinet d’Histoire” (11/02-11/05 2015), historical collections on Primates.

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Dernière modification : 12/10/2016

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