Palaeontologist and Speleologist

Passed away in June 1999 during a cave expedition in Oberland (Switzerland). In 1987, Philippe Morel set up a private archaeozoology laboratory in Bâle, then in Neuchâtel, where he studied numerous fauna from both the Pleistocene and the Holocene, from archaeological and natural sites. At the same time he started up a magnificent collection for comparison, an essential tool for all research in comparative anatomy, and a large specialised library. He was a specialist in cave bears, and wrote numerous studies about them, including the one on Bichon Cave. His wildlife analyses linked palaeontology, climatology, taphonomy and the behaviour of mammals underground.

He also took part in research on prestigious sites: the caves of Montespan, Arcy-sur-Cure and Chauvet-Pont d'Arc in France, and the open air Magdalanian habitats at Champréveyres and Monruz in Switzerland. Philippe was also involved in the study of Palaeolithic fauna at the site of El Kowm in Syria, excavated by the Universities of Bâle and Damas, and which produced remains of Homo erectus.

Find out more: text by Louis Chaix, Director of the Natural History Museum in Geneva.