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Animals: tamed, exploited and resurrected

Cultural discussion programme. Amol Rajan discusses the uneasy interaction between the animal kingdom and humans with Alice Roberts, Britt Wray and Gaia Vince.

Amol Rajan discusses the uneasy interaction between the animal kingdom and humans. The anthropologist Alice Roberts looks back to the moment hunter-gatherers changed their relationship with other species and began to tame them, paving the way for our civilisation. Gaia Vince visits the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica where local people have found a way to both exploit and protect a natural resource, the olive ridley sea turtle. Re-introducing native species can be fraught with difficulties: John Ewen was part of the team who successfully re-introduced the hihi bird to New Zealand, but can lessons learnt with songbirds help with schemes to bring back wolves, lynx and beavers? And resurrection science may be the stuff of films like Jurassic Park, but it is also an exciting - and potentially dangerous - new field of study. Britt Wray offers a warning about the risks of de-extinction.

Producer: Katy Hickman.

Available now

43 minutes

Alice Roberts

Alice Roberts is an anthropologist, writer and broadcaster, and is currently Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham.

Tamed: Ten Species That Changed Our World is published by Hutchinson.

Gaia Vince

Gaia Vince is a writer and broadcaster specialising in science, society and the environment. She has been an editor at Nature Climate Change, Nature and New Scientist.

The Biosphere by Gaia Vince is published in a book of essays, What’s Next? Even Scientists Can’t Predict the Future – or Can They? Edited by Jim Al-Khalili.

John Ewen

John Ewen is a Senior Research Fellow at ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and has a research focus on reintroduction biology and threatened species recovery. 

John's talk at the ZSL: Reintroductions for saving species is on 28th November at 6pm 

Britt Wray

Britt Wray is a radio broadcaster and writer.

Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-Extinction is published by Greystone Books.


Role Contributor
Presenter Amol Rajan
Interviewed Guest Alice Roberts
Interviewed Guest Gaia Vince
Interviewed Guest John Ewen
Interviewed Guest Britt Wray
Producer Katy Hickman