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ZOOL419 Special Topic: From Extinction to De-extinction

2021 information for papers will be published in early September. 

Reconstructing prehistoric ecosystems and impacts of humans and climate change through the use of Quaternary techniques, including assessing extinction causes, what the future holds for conservation, ecosystem restoration and de-extinction.

This paper is not necessarily offered each year. Please contact the Department of Zoology ( for current or upcoming availability information.

Paper title Special Topic: From Extinction to De-extinction
Paper code ZOOL419
Subject Zoology
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,333.93
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,793.66

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Dr Nic Rawlence

Teaching staff

Dr Nic Rawlence, Professor Jon Waters, Professor Philip Seddon, Professor Ewan Fordyce, Dr Michael Knapp

Teaching Arrangements

This paper focuses on reconstructing prehistoric ecosystems, how they have been impacted by humans and climate change, and how this knowledge can be used for biodiversity conservation. It is divided into four sections:

  1. Crtically assess the causes of extinctions of prehistoric ecosystems.
  2. Tools scientists use to reconstruct these ecosystems.
  3. What scientists have discovered about prehistoric ecosystems using these tools. 
  4. What the future holds in terms of conservation, ecosystem restoration and de-extinction.

Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete ZOOL419 will:

  1. Formulate and answer questions about reconstructing prehistoric ecosystems using Quaternary techniques such as radiocarbon dating, stable dietary isotopes, ancient DNA, palaeontology, archaeology, palynology and plant macrofossils.
  2. Use recently developed freely available online tools (e.g. radiocarbon date calibration, DNA sequence analysis) that will be of use in their research projects and their grant proposal.
  3. Critically evaluate (including interpretation and applying knowledge) research in Quaternary science.
  4. Engage in discussion with other people about Quaternary Science research.
  5. Find relevant material from library databases.
  6. Produce well-organised and well-written resarch projects and grant proposals.
  7. Give effective scientific oral presentations and debates.

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 13:00-15:50 9-12, 18-22