Could Mammoths Roam the Earth Again? Expert Explores De-Extinction Science at Linda Hall Library

From the moment Dolly the sheep was born as the first-ever animal successfully cloned from an adult cell, scientists around the world have been asking, “what’s next?” According to one evolutionary biologist who is scheduled to give a guest lecture at Linda Hall Library this March, we could someday soon see lost-to-time animals resurrected using ancient DNA research.

Linda Hall Library presents How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction at 7 p.m. on March 7 as the second guest lecture in a three-part series complementing the free exhibition, Chained to the Sky: The Science of Birds, Past & Future. Evolutionary molecular biologist, professor and award-winning popular science author Dr. Beth Shapiro examines the extraordinary cutting-edge science that is being used to resurrect the past.

“The prospect of bringing back ancient species is something you would expect to read in science-fiction, but it is nearly within reach today thanks to the work of scientists like Dr. Shapiro,” said Eric Ward, vice president for public programs at the Linda Hall Library. “Her pioneering evolutionary biology research exploring the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction perfectly complements our ongoing Chained to the Sky exhibition, which is open to the public through July 13.”

Shapiro is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor and is a co-leader of the UCSC Paleogenomics Lab. As an evolutionary biologist specializing in the genetics of ice age animals and plants, her work focuses on organisms ranging from influenza to mammoths, asking questions about domestication, admixture, speciation, and pathogen evolution. She is currently developing techniques to recover increasingly trace amounts of DNA, such as from environmental and forensic samples.

For her work, Shapiro has been named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She has also received the University of Georgia Young Alumnus Award, MacArthur Fellowship, Royal Society University Research Fellowship, and a Rhodes Scholarship.

“Today, the Earth is faced with the impending extinction of countless species due to climate change, environmental degradation, and invasive organisms, which all our best conservation efforts may not be able to overcome,” said Dr. Eric Dorfman, President of Linda Hall Library. “The research that Dr. Shapiro has shared could be the key to revitalizing and stabilizing diverse modern ecosystems all around the world.”

How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction is free and open to the public, though pre-registering is required for the in-person lecture and seating is limited. A virtual live stream is also free and available for registration.

The program takes place from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. on March 7 at the Library, located at 5109 Cherry Street in Kansas City, Missouri. Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd Streets.

KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

Leave a Reply