Adult Programs

De-Extinction Dialogues

A taxidermic mount of female (right) and male (left) Passenger Pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius) from the ROM's collections.

Ticket Prices:
General Public: $35.00 plus HST
ROM Members: $32.00 plus HST
Teachers/Students: $32.00 plus HST


6:00 PM         Doors Open for Ticket Holders (for any who wish to view the exhibit or attend the free public performance of A Mourning Chorus)
6:45 PM         ROM Theatre Doors open
7:00 PM         Introductions
7:10 PM         Joel Greenberg
7:45 PM         Ben J. Novak
8:15 PM         Q&A
8:30 PM         Reception & Book Sales - Signing - Dr Joel Greenberg
9:00 PM         End

Biodiversity - the plants, animals and the ecosystems that sustain life on earth, including humans - is under threat, with scientists unanimously dubbing the current period as the 6th Major Mass Extinction Event over the entire 4.5 billion year history of life on earth.  The last major extinction event was 65 million years ago, which saw the complete loss of the dinosaurs.

What does extinction mean? If 99% of all species that ever lived are extinct, what's the big deal? How might human ingenuity and innovation change the definition of extinction?

On September 26th, ROM Biodiversity in partnership with ROM Contemporary Culture, will tackle this topic in a novel and surprising way by intertwining art, science and culture.  The event will leverage the ROM 100 biodiversity gallery intervention exhibit - Empty Skies: The Passenger Pigeon Legacy- which will showcase 10 of our specimens, as well as 10 other endangered or extinct birds.  

7:00 pm, A Feathered River across the Sky, the Passengers Pigeon's Flight to Extinction, by Joel Greenberg

7:30 pm, De-Extinction: Bringing the Passenger Pigeon Back to Life, by Ben Novak


Dr Joel Greenberg
Dr. Greenberg, a research associate at both the Field Museum and the Chicago Academy of Sciences, and arguably the world's expert on passenger pigeon natural history, will introduce his newest book, and speak about the importance of the ROM's own collection of passenger pigeons which is the largest in the world.

Ben J. Novak
Truly a revolutionary among contemporary biologists, Ben Novak, the lead researcher of Revive and Restore's "Great Comeback" project, will present his controversial proposal, and current research update, on the process of placing the complete genome of the passenger pigeon within an extant species with the goal to resurrect the passenger pigeon. Novak and colleagues at the University of Santa Cruz, California have used the ROM passenger pigeon collection extensively to sequence the bird's genome, and will present in TED Talks format.



Royal Ontario Museum
Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre
Level 1B

President's Choice School Entrance ►