A world-leading evolutionary biologist will visit Portland next month to break ground on a unique extinct species monument.

Professor Edward Osborne Wilson, regarded by his peers as ‘Darwin’s natural heir’ will break ground at the Mass Extinction Monitoring Observatory (MEMO) site at Bowers Quarry on Monday, Nove-mber 3, before giving a public talk at a Portland school.

The MEMO project was set up by Weymouth-trained stone carver Sebastian Brooke and will form a spiral of stone bearing the carved images of all the species to have become extinct in modern times.

The lease for the site at Bowers Quarry has been agreed with the Crown Estate – while architect David Adjaye’s spiral design has been given the go-ahead by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

MEMO hopes to bring together understanding the importance of biodiversity and species extinction. The EO Wilson Biodiversity Found-ation is now a partner of MEMO and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Mr Brooke believes the involvement of Professor Wilson has raised MEMO’s profile and opened the project to a wider audience. Mr Brooke said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to introduce our project to our international supporters and audience.

“We had an event in New York in March and he loved our project. He’s not yet as well known in the UK as he is in the United States, but in 2009 at Darwin’s Origin of the Species 150-year anniversary he was asked to give a lecture, so he has a fantastic reputation in his field.

“We’re thrilled that he is so impressed with what we are doing that he is coming over to join us. There will be a ceremony to break ground on the clifftop – with local percussion group Magic Drum taking part.”

Following the ground breaking ceremony at 4pm, Professor Wilson will give a talk at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy at 4.30pm. For tickets visit memoproject.org