A Moss From King Arthur’s Court and the New Science of Resurrection Ecology

Over the past year, I’ve been writing a lot about scientists bringing back life from the distant past–including viruses, water fleas, and–theoretically–mammoths. For my “Matter” column this week in the New York Times, I report on another revival: moss that has started growing after spending 1500 years in a bank of  permafrost. As more species return from the past, some scientists think it’s time to establish a new scientific field which they call “resurrection ecology.” In my column, I consider some of the things that resurrection ecologists can learn about the past and the future. Check it out.

3 thoughts on “A Moss From King Arthur’s Court and the New Science of Resurrection Ecology

  1. FWIW, I think resurrecting passenger pigeons would be a bad idea unless you also resurrected all their parasites and diseases. They were prolific with these natural controls – imagine what would happen if they were reintroduced without the controls?

  2. My comment is similar to Brian Schmidt’s. How would a 43,000 year old mammoth react to the vastly changed micro-ecology that presently-living species have adapted to? I have the same concerns regarding “terraforming” of planets we hope to colonise in the future. Would we not also have to re-create the whole underpinning of bacteria, germs, the kind of things H G Wells foresaw in his War of the Worlds.

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