Join UNM’s chapter of Sigma Xi for the Science and Society Distinguished Public Talk on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the UNM Conference Center Auditorium as they present ‘What Happened to the Mammoths? Exploring the Cause of North America’s Most Recent Mass Extinction.’

Co-sponsored by the Albuquerque Section of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and its Life Members Affinity Group, Sigma Xi (the Scientific Research Society), the UNM Department of Physics & Astronomy and the UNM Division of Continuing Education, the event features University of Wyoming Professor of Anthropology Todd Surovell.

Along with his faculty position in the Department of Anthropology, Surovell is also the director of the Frison Institute at the University of Wyoming. He received his B.S. in Anthropology and Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. He is an expert in Paleoindian archaeology, New World colonization, lithic technology and geoarchaeology. Surovell has worked throughout the Rocky Mountain west and Great Plains and has participated in fieldwork in Denmark, Israel and Mongolia. Currently, he has three active field projects, two in Wyoming and one in northern Mongolia. 

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 experiences 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.

There will be a meet and greet with Surovell at 5 p.m. in the UNM Conference Center Auditorium, located at 1634 University Blvd. NE.

Pizza will be provided after the lecture.

For directions to the UNM Conference Center, go to UNMCC.