Humanity has changed nature profoundly, but it may be only the beginning. Researcher Lauren Holt explores what the far future could bring for the planet’s organisms – and for us.

Source: BBC

At 4913 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, there is an unusual institution. The Center for PostNatural History is a small museum with an eclectic and bizarre mix of specimens: you will find a rib-less mouse embryo, sterile male screwworm, a sample of E. coli x1776 (a specimen designed to be harmless and unable to survive outside the laboratory), and a stuffed transgenic BioSteel goat named Freckles, genetically modified to produce spider silk proteins in her milk.

The museum’s subject, post-naturalism, is the study of the origins, habitats, and evolution of organisms that have been intentionally and heritably altered with genetic engineering, and the influence of human culture and biotechnology on evolution. Its tagline: “That was then. This is now”, complements its logo, an evolutionary tree with an arrow joining two distinct branches. Visitors are encouraged to consider that each specimen has a natural, evolutionary history, as well as a post-natural, cultural one.

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