Josh Donlan

Josh Donlan is with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, and a fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program and the Switzer Foundation.

How a plan to return big beasts to North America raised hackles and hopes

Every damn kid in the U.S., son of cabbie or Catholic, knows and cares about dinosaurs. But few have heard of gomphotheres, which lived here much more recently. Cheetahs never win. In the late summer, this North American elephant — along with some of its contemporaries, like American camels, cheetahs, lions, and giant tortoises — crept into the minds of many Americans, as the press reported on a proposal put forth by my colleagues and me to bring large animals back to North America. Our big idea brought an even bigger response from the press, public, and scientific community. It …

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