Palaeontologist. Honorary curator of the Museum of Lyon (the current Musée des Confluences).
Michel Philippe joined the Museum of Lyon on 1 January 1964 and was entrusted with the maintenance and inventory of the collections; he was appointed manager of the Earth Science Department in May 1975, and retired on 30 June 2004 when he was Chief Curator. He was the technical director of palaeontological excavations of the Wolstonian deposit at La Fage-Aven I, Corrèze (from 1964 to 1968) and the Wurmien stage deposit at Jaurens, Corrèze (from 1968 to 1971). He directed the Wurmien deposit excavations at Siréjol, Lot (from 1972 to 1975). At the same time, on a personal level, he became interested in Miocene marine terrains. He holds a Diploma in Higher Studies on "The Burdigalian on the Courennes (Vaucluse) plateau" (1973). After passing the Special University Entrance Exam in 1980, accepted as the equivalent of the Baccalaureate, he presented his PhD thesis entitled "A systematic review of the Miocene echinids from the Rhône basin" (1984).
Directing the excavations at the cave bear hibernation cave at Balme in Collomb, Savoie (from 1989 to 1994) enabled him to specialise in the study of this fabled animal, equally emblematic at the Chauvet-Pont d’Arc Cave. After joining the multidisciplinary team at this site in 1999, he drew up the census of "bear caves" in the gorges of Ardèche and excavated two of them: Deux-Ouvertures (in 2007) and the Salomé network (in 2012).