November 03, 2022    
7:15 pm - 9:30 pm

Event Type

Meeting timing: 7:15PM Zoom opens; 7:30-8PM club business; 8PM presentation followed by questions. This will be a virtual meeting.  You will need to register to receive the Zoom link.  Then watch for the meeting link in your email.


Madagascar has always been a place of change, as even a brief glimpse at its long history makes clear. A widely held view is that human activities alone have driven recent environmental changes, and the island is a poster child for human destructiveness: forest cover has declined sharply, and all the largest-bodied animal species have gone extinct within the past thousand years.  Evidence bearing on the decline and disappearance of the island’s giant elephant birds raises many questions about this simple story of human-driven change. A more nuanced understanding of the past is a vital foundation for efforts to ensure the continued survival of the many unique plants and animals to which Madagascar is still home.


Professor Dame Alison Richard received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology at Cambridge University, and her doctorate from London University.  In 1972, she moved to Yale University, where she became Director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in 1991, and then served as Provost from 1994-2002.  From 2003-2010, Professor Richard was Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.  She is a trustee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and co-trustee of the Liz Claiborne & Art Ortenberg Foundation, chairs the advisory boards of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and the Yale Peabody Museum, and serves as a member of the Arcadia Fund Advisory Board.  Copies of Professor Richard’s latest book, The Sloth Lemur’s Song, Madagascar from the Deep Past to the Uncertain Future, will be available for sale via an online link.