Science Sunday: Making Mummies Talk

Science Sunday: Making Mummies Talk
Using fossils to understand how seals will respond to environmental change
Paul Koch, Ph.D.
Dean, Physical and Biological Sciences
Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
UC Santa Cruz

Understanding how animals responded to environmental shifts in the past may offer important clues as to how they will deal with the challenges of the coming centuries. Mummies are an especially rich source of information. Beyond just letting us know who lived where in the past, they provide information on population size, body condition, reproductive traits, and feeding preferences as revealed by studies of anatomy,ancient DNA, and forensic chemistry.

The frigid, dry climates of Antarctica are especially conducive to natural mummification of animals. Large numbers of seals have wandered into the Dry Valleys of Antarctica where they perished and now dot the landscape as mummies that can be sampled for studies of past ecology.

Koch will discuss his work on mummies to understand the ecology of the seals that lived in the Ross Sea of Antarctica over the past 8,000 years, and how insights gained from study of mummies might be important for conservation of the species in the future.

Lecture is free with admission. Recommended for ages 10 and older.

Doors open to the lecture hall at 12:30 PM. Lecture passes are available at the admissions counter at noon. Seating is limited and first-come, first-served. No late seating.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 1:00pm

Seymour Marine Discovery Center
100 McAllister Way, Santa Cruz, California 95060



Adults: $8 Students (with ID), Children (3-16): $6 Toddlers (2 & under): Free Seniors (65+): $6 Members: Free

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