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Cymraeg

Predicting the future

23 March 2010

Racing TortoiseA blueprint for a racing tortoise - just one of the possible designs for the animals of the future

What will pets and farm animals look like in a thousand years time? With climate change and an increasing human population will we need smaller, cleaner, transportable pets? How about a micro-dog the size of a mobile or would you breed a lightweight tortoise for speed?

Addressing some of these questions is the Future Animals exhibition, designed by a group of young people as part of a University-led project involving the Schools of History and Archaeology and Biosciences along with external partners Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, Techniquest, and the award-winning artist Paul Evans.

The exhibition will open officially at National Museum Cardiff on Tuesday, 23 March 2010. Featuring everything from a zip up sheep to a guard koala, from penguin skittles to cuddly snakes, the new, free display includes imaginative drawings by young people from Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr, St Alban's RC Pontypool and Cardiff ITEC Solutions.

The exhibition is the result of three workshops held in December 2009 when the participating students were encouraged to think about pets and farm animals of the future.

Dr Jacqui Mulville, School of History and Archaeology said: "To bring alive the role that humans had in ‘designing’ past and present animals using our specialist knowledge of the archaeology, history and genetics of dogs was really satisfying. The student’s response to our challenge to then create future animals was fabulous and it was fun to see how archaeology and genetics can inspire such fantastic visions for our future."

Artist Paul Evans added: "As well as being creative fun, the workshop was also designed to incorporate an ethical dimension. We asked the young people participating in workshops about the rights and wrongs of all this. Is it right for us to change the way animals look and behave just so that we can have a cute or cuddly companion or a docile source of food?"

A short film documenting the students’ thoughts and feelings about these issues can be viewed in the second gallery space devoted to the exhibition.

Future Animals is a creative project funded by the Beacon for Wales. The team includes Dr Jacqui Mulville, School of History and Archaeology, Professor Mike Bruford, School of Biosciences, Tina Crimp, STEM Ambassadors Manager at Techniquest, a number of Cardiff University postgraduate students and Ciara Charnley, National Sciences Education Officer, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales.

Further information can be found on the project blog: www.futureanimals.wordpress.com

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