EXTINCTION & DE-EXTINCTION
- HOW TO CLONE A MAMMOTH: The Science of De-extinction – Beth Shapiro (2015) A detailed description by a great story teller, a careful skeptic, and a highly productive scientist of every stage of what it will take to resurrect woolly mammoths (and other extinct mammals) and passenger pigeons (and other extinct birds).
- NATURE’S GHOSTS: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology – Mark V. Barrow, Jr. (2009) The idea of extinction didn’t exist in Jefferson’s time. There’s been one harsh revelation after another since then, chronicled in this wonderful history. The current generation of biologists will write the next chapter.
- LAST OF THE CURLEWS – Fred Bodsworth, (2011). This book on the extinction of Eskimo curlews has quietly become one of the great classics of conservation writing. Read it aloud with someone you love at bedtime.
- THE LAST TASMANIAN TIGER: The History and Extinction of the Thylacine – Robert Paddle, (2002).The thylacine was effectively a marsupial wolf, a crucial apex predator in Tasmania. The government declared unjust war on it and extinguished every one. Here is the full story.
- MAMMOTHS: Giants of the Ice Age – Adrian Lister, Paul Bahn (2007) Dazzling and authoritative, this richly illustrated natural history of mammoths makes them seem as familiar and profoundly admirable as their living relatives, the elephants.
- THE CALIFORNIA CONDOR: A Saga of Natural History and Conservation – Noel Snyder and Helen Snyder (2000) Down to 22 birds in 1981, the condor is back to over 400, with half of them now in the wild. This encyclopedic work shows how important good field science was. A shorter version is Introduction to the California Condor (2005) by the same authors.
- ZOO CONSERVATION BIOLOGY – John Fa, Stephan Funk, Donnamarie O’Connell (2011) An excellent survey of the growing role of zoos in conservation biology, including captive breeding and return to the wild. Zoos will be crucial for de-extinction biology.
- AMERICAN CHESTNUT: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree – Susan Freinkel (2007) The revivers of the American chestnut are four decades ahead of everyone else in bringing back an important missing species. For updates, get the quarterly Journal of The American Chestnut Foundation.
- ONCE AND FUTURE GIANTS: What Ice Age Extinctions Tell Us About the Fate of Earth’s Largest Animals – Sharon Levy (2011) A fine introduction to mammoths and mastodons and what it might mean to have them back.
- WILD ONES: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America – Jon Mooalem, (2013). The subtitle nails it: “A sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America.” Endangered animals often make people exceptionally noble.
Top of Page