The Loss and Resurrection of Species

Megan Rothenberger and Mike Butler, department of biology

As our experience with the passenger pigeon shows, currently large populations are not immune to extinction, and humans are still taking a toll on other wild bird species. Right here on Lafayette’s campus, we have spent two years documenting the incidence of window-killed birds and have found that we are contributing to a problem that claims an estimated one billion birds every year. Our activities may be contributing to the decline and eventual extinction of hundreds of bird species and other organisms, but what if we had the technology to resurrect lost species? It turns out that de-extinction may be more than just science fiction. This talk will also explore the science of de-extinction and the logistics of resurrection ecology.