Origins - Stories of the World

Reconstitution of three woman hominids, neanderthal, sapiens and flores (2011/2013) by Daynès atelierMusée des Confluences

The common origin of life

The exhibition entitled “Origins, the stories of the world” will take you back in time from the last hominids up to the common origin of life over three billion years ago and then you will go further back to the big bang that created the universe, fourteen billion years ago.

General view of the exhibition OriginsMusée des Confluences

Throughout the tour, two approaches to explaining the world are displayed side by side. On one hand, the natural sciences explain how life developed and evolved as an interconnected system of species. On the other hand, the social sciences, on the basis of contemporary works and pieces from the ethnographic collections of the museum, reveal how certain cultures have developed stories to explain the origins of humanity.

Fragment of a Homo sapiens child’s jaw (-38 000 ans (Pléistocène))Musée des Confluences

Fragment of the jawbone of a Homo sapiens child

This fragment is one of the oldest remains of our own species, Homo sapiens, discovered in France.

Large raven (1988) by Illauq JohanasieMusée des Confluences

Common raven(1988)
For the Inuit people, this bird is often associated with dreams, the uninitiated and shamanism. It enables one to see farther and to access the invisible realities of the world of spirits.

Camarasaur ( Camarasaurus Lentus) (- 155 millions d'années (Jurassique))Musée des Confluences


The camarasaurus appeared in North America 155 million years ago. They form part of the group of sauropods, the largest quadruped herbivorous dinosaurs that ever walked the earth.

Mammoth known as "Choulans mammoth" (Mammuthus intermedius) (Entre -305 000 et -130 000 ans (Pléistocène))Musée des Confluences

Mammoth of Choulans

It was discovered in 1859 when work was being done on the hillside at Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, 3 kilometres from the musée des Confluences.

The mammoth of ChoulansMusée des Confluences

Fossile crocodile (Crocodileimus robustus) (Entre 155,6 et 150,8 millions d'années (Kimmeridgien))Musée des Confluences

Crocodile of Cerin

This fossil is exceptionally well preserved.

The remains were lying at the bottom of an ancient tropical lagoon near Lyon, around 150 million years ago.

Banded iron formation (-2,1 milliards d’années (Précambrien))Musée des Confluences

Banded iron formations

This rock formation reminds us that nearly 4 billion years ago, life formed on earth from molecules such as, for example, amino acids. Bacteria, the earliest forms of life, gradually produced the oxygen in the oceans and the atmosphere.

Incense clock (18e siècle)Musée des Confluences

Incense clock18e century
Since the Sung Dynasty (960-1279), the Chinese use sticks of incense to measure time as the material is readily available and it burns slowly and at a regular pace.

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