Temple Dedicated To 860 Species Lost In Sixth Mass Extinction Planned For Isle Of Portland

Tara West

Professor Edward Osborne Wilson, the Harvard entomologist and Pulitzer prize-winning author who has been called the “natural heir to Darwin,” has come to Britain to break ground on a construction project to honor the 860 lost species in what is being called the “sixth great mass extinction.” The project is calling for a temple to be built in honor of the species who have passed in the last five centuries due to the careless nature of man.

The Independent reports that the project will be called the Mass Extinction Monitoring Observatory (Memo). It will be built from the fossil-rich Portland limestone of the Jurassic Coast. Sculptors from around the world will be commissioned to create a gallery of carvings that will set in stone the portraits of each lost species, from the passenger pigeon to the Tasmanian tiger.

The temple will be a visual reminder that the earth is currently in a mass extinction that is considered the greatest mass extinction since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. It is also the only mass extinction caused by another species: man.

The project is supported by HRH The Duke Of Edinburg, who says the project is an imaginative way of gaining public attention.

“The creation of a memorial to extinct species in the form of a gallery on the Isle of Portland in the vicinity of the Jurassic Coast, is an imaginative way of drawing public attention to the destructive influence of modern human society, and to encourage an informed culture of respect for the natural world.”

The official website for the Mass Extinction Monitoring Observatory notes that the project will be an architectural icon.

“Part of the challenge today is to capture the public imagination, to educate and inspire to action, so that we may grasp the opportunity to shape a future for the benefit of all species, including our own. The mission of MEMO is exactly that — to inform, to educate, to inspire. At the heart of the Project will be an architectural icon, in the age-old tradition of Stonehenge, the Pyramids and the Taj Mahal. MEMO will be a stunning stone structure, spiralling out of ancient cliffs.”

Reports indicate that the MEMO project is in a strong position to win the £20m needed to build the first phase of the project. It has been noted that the leaders of the project have been in talks with several private donors which, if successful, could trigger a matched £5m donation from the Government.

Once the money is secured, construction will be swift. The Independent reports that it could begin within a few weeks of securing the donations.

[Image Credit: MEMO]