Spring Science Inspires Series Kicks Off with “What Happened to the Mammoths?”

Posted on 1/27/2017 8:33:38 AM

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the IUP Chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society, invite you to this semester’s first presentation of the Science Inspires Series. Todd Surovell, University of Wyoming, will start this semester’s Science Inspires Series with a presentation titled “What Happened to the Mammoths? Exploring the Cause of North America’s Most Recent Mass Extinction.”

Surovell's talk will be on February 9, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, room B10.

For most of the last two million years, North America was home to more than 40 species of large animals, like mammoths, mastodons, camels, and ground sloths. These megafauna suffered a rapid extinction only 13,000 years ago at a time when the planet’s climate was warming, ecological communities were undergoing significant changes, and humans first appeared on the continent. Disentangling the causes of this mass extinction event has been complicated and contentious, to say the least.

In this talk, Surovell will provide a personal narrative of his experience with the overkill hypothesis, and how he came to believe that if humans had never migrated to the New World, mammoths would still be roaming the continent today.