Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
Entrance to the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
|Location||Alaska Highway, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada|
|Type||Human and natural history museum|
|Owner||Government of Yukon|
The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre is a research and exhibition facility located at km 1423 (Mile 886) on the Alaska Highway in Whitehorse, Yukon, which opened in 1997. The focus of the interpretive centre is the story of Beringia, the 3200 km landmass stretching from the Kolyma River in Siberia to the MacKenzie River in Canada, which remained non-glaciated during the Pleistocene due to light snowfall from an arid climate. Beringia is of special interest to archeologists and paleontologists as it played a crucial role in the migrations of many animals and humans between Asia and the Americas. The term Beringia was first coined by the Swedish botanist Eric Hultén in 1937.
During Beringia's long history some animals migrated Easterly (mastodons, gomphotheres, mammoths, various members of the deer family, bison, sheep and muskoxen) others Westerly (equines, camels), and yet others reveal many episodes of dispersal (such as lemmings and voles).
Recent research includes the paleobotany around the Bluefish Caves, habitat of ground squirrels (Spermophilus parryii) and their middens, Klondike gold fields, and the Old Crow region which revealed many fossils belonging to mammals that are much rarer in Pleistocene fossil assemblages, including giant beaver (Castor ohioensis), broad-fronted moose (Cervalces latifrons), western camel (Camelops hesternus), American mastodon (Mammut americanum), scimitar cat (Homotherium serum), and short-faced bear (Arctodus simus). Radiocarbon dating is ongoing for many of these specimens.
Whitefish fossil, approximately 2-million-year-old specimens of Coregonus beringiaensis, form Ch'ijee's Bluff in the Bluefish Basin on the Porcupine River near Old Crow.
The mandate for the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre's activities derives from the Department of Tourism and Culture of the Yukon Territorial Government.
- "Museums, Galleries & Shows of the Alaska Highway". www.CelebrateAlaskaHighway.com. Fort Nelson Northern Rockies Regional Municipality. 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2018.