Making Mummies Talk

  • Seymour Marine Discovery Center 100 Shaffer Rd Santa Cruz, CA, 95060 United States

Making Mummies Talk
with Paul Koch
part of the Science Sundays series at Seymour Marine Discovery Center
Sunday, March 15, 1:00PM, and the third Sunday of each month
Seymour Marine Discovery Center, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz
included with museum admission
http://seymourcenter.ucsc.edu/learn/ongoing-education/science-sundays

Join us on the third Sunday of every month (except December), for a public lecture from a marine scientist, who presents current research and topics in an entertaining and easy-to-understand format, with up-to-date photos, video, and discussion. Science Sunday is for everyone interested in the world around them.

Doors open to the lecture hall at 12:30PM. Lecture passes are available at the admissions counter at noon. Seating is limited and first-come, first-served. No late seating. Lectures are one-hour long, including time for a few questions at the end. Science Sunday is free with admission, and always free for members. Recommended for ages 10 and older.

Making Mummies Talk: Using fossils to understand how seals will respond to environmental change with 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.