Kieren
Mitchell
Chief Investigator

University of Adelaide

Kieren’s research uses genetic information from living and extinct animal species to measure how biodiversity has responded to past climate and environmental changes. He has previously published research on extinct elephant birds from Madagascar, giant bears from South America, rhinos from Asia, and penguins from New Zealand. However, his current priority is using “ancient DNA” to better understand past biodiversity change in Australia.

As part of CABAH, Kieren is obtaining genetic data from extinct species of giant kangaroo, and other extinct animals like the Tasmanian tiger, in order to reconstruct their evolutionary history. He is also collecting data from ancestral populations of living species – like wallabies and wombats – from before and after the Last Glacial Maximum to see how these species have adapted and changed over time.

An essential item in Kieren’s toolkit

“Ancient animal specimens. Bones and teeth from animals that died hundreds to tens-of-thousands of years ago can preserve DNA that holds the key to understanding their origin, evolution, and fate.”

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