Speaker Name(s): Hendrik Poinar, BS, MS, PhD
Description: Most animals that once lived have gone extinct. A few of their remains can be found in museum collections or, more excitingly, buried in deep permafrost or cave sediments. DNA from extinct humans (Neanderthals) and animals (mammoths, ground sloths) could add significant insight into their origins, relatedness, population history and deaths, and truly allow the evolutionary biologist to travel back in time. With the advent of state-of-the-art technology, popularized in shows such as CSI, geneticists can isolate small snippets of DNA from these fossils and piece together genome size bits of information to address fascinating questions, such as whether Neanderthals and humans interbred.