Over 90 percent of all things that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct. You’re lucky to still be here! We are so familiar with extinction that it is hard to imagine a world where nothing was believed to be extinct. Yet, the idea of extinction is a relatively modern concept.
Sadiah Qureshi is a historian of science, race and empire. In her History of Science Section Presidential Address, she will take us on a whistle-stop tour of the history of ideas behind extinction.
From the fossilised elephant-like beasts that helped establish the very idea in the eighteenth century, to attempts to make extinction a thing of the past through resurrecting lost species, she asks: how can we save our species?’