Open all year round
Would you like to travel back in time? One of the three most famous palaeontological sites in the world is inviting you to do just that. Head for Sansan, in the Gers, where an educational trail reveals the secrets of a vanished world...
The destiny of a palaeontologist
The discovery of the Sansan site in 1834 was made by Édouard Lartert. Trained as a lawyer, his passion quickly turned him away from law to palaeontology, which he taught from 1869 as a professor at the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle. While here he discovered more than 900 species of mammals and reptiles. After his death, his son Louis took over and unveiled nothing less than the famous Cro-Magnon Man at Les Eyzies-de-Tayac in the Dordogne. After the Gers, head for the Abri Pataud in the Dordogne!
A giant step for science
Two nuggets found on the Sansan site have marked the history of science: in 1837, a jaw of Pliopithecus antiquus, an ape to which we owe the beginnings of the theory of evolution; in 1852, a mastodon skeleton, the first to be reconstructed in Europe and the second in the world.
Specimens from the site are still on display in the Museum's Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy Gallery: the Archaeobelodon, a mastodon cousin of elephants, the Anisodon, a cousin of rhinoceroses, and the Amphicyon, a kind of bear-dog. Not forgetting the jawbone of the pliopithecus monkey which earned Edouard Lartet a real reputation in the scientific and palaeontological sphere.
A freely accessible trail
A 3 km long trail, created with the support of the Val de Gers Community of Municipalities, reveals the soul of the site. Nine educational highlights will teach you more about different themes: the discovery of the deposit, the scientific context of the time, the flora and even the work of the palaeontologists... A truly sensory, interactive experience, thanks to the availability of casts and multimedia content (archive photos, videos, sound recordings), accessible by QR code. The visit to the educational trail is free of charge and may be carried out unaccompanied. Enjoy it!
How to find us
Place de l'Église
Place de l'Église