Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre

Canada's Yukon territory is well know for its natural beauty and abundance of outdoor recreation.  It's a very sparsely populated region (one human for every 2 moose), but there are a few interesting indoor sites to visit including this one, which I think is the best in the territory.  
01 Yukon Beringia Center (2)

02 Yukon Beringia Center (1)
The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre takes you back some 24,000 years to the last great Ice Age, when almost all of Canada and much of the northern United States was covered by a thick sheet of ice almost one kilometer thick.  There was a place in northwestern North America that -- contrary to what your instincts tell you -- was not covered with glaciers, being instead an arid grassland.  This subcontinent is known today as Beringia, and it was home to some fascinating animals. 
04 Yukon Beringia Center (14)
Why was Beringia not covered with ice?  Because while it was cold, it was too dry.  The coastal mountains of Alaska so sheltered the interior from moisture that there was not enough precipitation here to create a glacier.  Because of thick ice sheets on the continents, the ocean levels were lowered and a land bridge appeared which allowed migration of people and animals between Asia and North America.  It is this period in time that the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre studies and presents in such an interesting way.  
05 Yukon Beringia Center (13)

06 Yukon Beringia Center (17)
08 Yukon Beringia Center (16)
The center has an interesting array of skeletal remains , some of these animals very familiar, like the woolly mammoth....
08a Yukon Beringia Center (30)
and the steppe bison...
20 Yukon Beringia Center (40) Steppe Bison
Others are less well known, like the giant short-faced bear...
09 Yukon Beringia Center (20). Giant Short-faced Bear

19 Yukon Beringia Center (38). Giant Short-faced bear
...the ferocious scimitar cat....
10 Yukon Beringia Center (23). American Scimitar Cat

11 Yukon Beringia Center (24). American Scimitar Cat

...and the massive Jefferson Ground sloth ( the source of last weekend's One Clue Mystery photo, which was only solved by the incomparable GeorgeG.) ....
12 Yukon Beringia Center (25) Jefferson's Ground Sloth
13 Yukon Beringia Center (27). Jefferson's Ground Sloth
...among many other species.
18 Yukon Beringia Center (37)
Most of these Ice-Age animals, like the mammoth, have been extinct for over 10,000 years.  Because of the cold northern climate many animal remains were frozen in the permafrost.  Well-preserved remains (bones, hair, skin) are discovered (mostly by miners) to this day.  Local legend in the Yukon tells of starving miners being forced to subsist off of defrosted mammoth meat during the Klondike gold rush. 
07 Yukon Beringia Center (18)
The center also features murals and dioramas that depict information about the people who lived in Beringia.
14 Yukon Beringia Center (32)

15 Yukon Beringia Center (33)

16 Yukon Beringia Center (34)

17 Yukon Beringia Center (35)

The center also features works of art (like the 3 mammoth statues below, located outside the building), and Beringia-related films.  The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre is affiliated with the Alliance of Natural Museums of Natural History of Canada and the Virtual Museum of Canada.

00a Yukon Beringia Center (5)
00b Yukon Beringia Center (6)

If you go:

The Yukon Beringia Interpretative Centre is situated just off the Alaska Highway, close to the Whitehorse airport, so it's easy to find.  The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in summer and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. in winter.

00c Yukon Beringia Center (8)

The museum charges a small admission fee, well worth it.  Free tours are held several times a day and are highly recommended.  Your guide will be knowledgeable and provide you a lot of information about life back during the Ice Age in the Yukon.


Photos (24)

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

Add Comment

Comments (6)

Newest · Oldest · Popular

I would love to visit this area and see the amazing displays. Where I live the Ice Age sent Glaciers south from the Arctic Circle. Massive rocks found underground have their origins traced back to hundreds of miles further North. The Lake District and The Pennine Mountain range (through the centre of England) were carved by glacial action. Global Warming saw the Ice-Age retreating before mankind had any influence. 

We have local rocks that were moved hundreds of kilometers by the glaciers as well.  For example, this local collection of rocks is known as the Okotoks erratic, and measures up to 40 m.  It was transported here by the glaciers that completely covered Alberta thousands of years ago.

By Coaxial at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=7753012

Global cooling really terrifies me.  Sheets of ice covering much of the planets land are not compatible with life in those areas.  

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie


Photos (1)

Wise thoughts Dr F. Many of the life changing events in the history of this planet occur around the time of Volcanic destruction. Mini Ice Ages caused by the sun being blocked from view by the airborne ash that covered the planet.  Krakatoa being the most recent eruption. 13,000 times greater than Hiroshima. So severe that the explosion could be heard around the world twice as the sound and ash travelled in all directions. Much easier to blame mankind's excesses.  Here in the North of England wine producing was abandoned in 1817 when cooler summers meant the grapes failed for successive years. I'll worry about Global Warming when we can grow grapes like my ancestors did -  200 years ago. 

“The Romans wrote about growing wine grapes in Britain in the first century and then it got too cold during the Dark Ages. Ancient tax records show the Britons grew their own wine grapes in the 11th century, during the Medieval Warming, and then it got too cold during the Little Ice Age. The Little Ice Age is a period between about 1300 and 1870 during which Europe and North America were subjected to much colder winters than during the 20th century."

Wikipedia refers to the production of wine in the South of England 30 years later.

Different Ball Game.

No, the Wikipedia article covers much more than that - and even refers to grapes being tried by the Romans in Lincolnshire.

You forgot to attribute your quote to Dennis Avery and you did not quote him in full. He goes on to claim that "it isn't yet warm enough for wine grapes in today's Britain". This is manifestly completely untrue.

I don't want to get into a discussion on climate change here - you clearly are in another camp on that issue.