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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

Dr. Donald Prothero — On the Future of Life on Earth

The geologist and paleontologist who is expert in ancient climates turns his acumen to current environmental problems that must be solved before our civilization can move forward. The obstacles are considerable but not insurmountable. First and foremost we must deal with climate change and its consequences for our immediate future as the earth’s population approaches 10 billion by 2050. Prothero offers some solutions as well as outlining the problems.

Donald R. Prothero is Senior Paleontologist at ArchaeoPaleo Environmental Management, Inc., and Research Associate in Vertebrate Paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He taught for 35 years at Columbia, Knox, Pierce, Vassar, Occidental, and Caltech. He is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 34 books and over 250 scientific papers, including five leading geology textbooks. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Linnaean Society of London, and has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation. In 2013, he received the James Shea Award of the National Association of Geology Teachers for outstanding writing and editing in the geological sciences. He has also been featured on many television documentaries, including episodes of Paleoworld (BBC), Prehistoric Monsters Revealed (History Channel), Entelodon and Hyaenodon (National Geographic Channel) and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (BBC).

This lecture was recorded on May 30, 2015 at a conference called “In the Year 2525: Big Science, Big History, and the Far Future of Humanity” (May 29–31, 2015) as part of the Distinguished Science Lecture Series hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society in California (1992–2015).

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