Monday, August 22, 2011

Great series on discovery of species

This series of posts by Richard Coniff covers the history and important of species discovery. Along the way, he comments on such things as the belief that extinction was impossible (God would not allow such imperfection in Creation), the dangers faced by naturalists accused of being spies (zoologist Jordi Magraner was killed in 2002 in Pakistan on such suspicion, although Coniff missed this example), and the challenge of inventorying a forest when you're only a half-step ahead of the loggers.
(Magraner, who had spent years in the area and was fluent in three local languages, was killed in a house he was renting in the troubled northern region of Pakistan by assailants who reportedly were organized enough to drug his watchdogs. Pakistani media and police said he had "suspicious links," but no hard information has ever surfaced to indicate he was anything other than what he said he was: a zoologist on the trail on the bar-manu, a reported man-sized primate.)

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