The Ardèche Museum

Managing Organization : The Ardèche Museum

Presentation : 

Fossils with exceptional conservation from the lagerstättes of the Ardèche and elsewhere.

During 1h30, the students are guided by our paleontologist through the fossil collections of the Museum of the Ardèche. From Precambrian to Cenozoic, the history of Life is described in the exhibition thanks to nearly 600 original fossils, a large part of which are from exceptional conservation sites (lagerstättes) around the world.

At the heart of the exhibition, two particular Ardèche fossil sites – the La Voultesur-Rhône fossil deposit and the Saint-Bauzile diatomite quarry – are tackled with the help of exceptional quality scientific material.

The first, the La Voulte-sur-Rhône site, is recognized for the mineralization of the soft parts of the animals in this paleo-bathyal environment. 165 million years ago, a small underwater disaster would have poisoned the environment creating very special conditions for the conservation of fossils.

The second, the diatomite quarry of Saint-Bauzile, is an exploitation in fossil activity by the numerous mummies which have and are still discovered there. 8 million years ago, in a phreatomagmatic crater, the holding of regular volcanic events caused the diatoms of the lake to bake. The rock formed by these deposits has preserved by its inertia many mummies including giant boars, a pregnant hipparion female, the oldest chestnut in Ardèche, etc.

Throughout the visit, other sites with exceptional conservation are discussed such as those of Solnhofen (Germany), Monte Bolca (Italy), Burgess shale (Canada), Shenyang (China), etc…

Materials made available :

  • Many original fossils, also observable with the binocular
  • Possibility to complete the visit with a geological walk (numerous sites nearby)

Scientific or educational interests :

  • Fossilizations / Mineralizations / Diagenesis
  • History of the Earth, history of Life
  • Comparative anatomy, phylogeny, evolution
  • Knowledge of paleo-environments

Thematic keywords : biology, cartography, climatology, conservation of collections, ecology, entomology, wildlife study, genetics, geography, sedimentology, geomorphology, paleoclimatology, paleontology, landscapes, volcanology

Keywords typology of sites : fossil collection/ mediation space

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