Science: Modern Noahs

They are packing up their Egyptian mummies and stowing them away in dark vaults. They are dismantling their dinosaur skeletons and hiding them again in the earth. They are locking dead cockroaches in safes. They have rented a bank to safeguard their Indian wampum. In all the great science museums along the U.S. coasts, curators are busy as Noahs, threatened by the flood of war.

In Washington the Smithsonian Institution is shipping 57,200 insects to a secret cache. Why all the fuss over a tattered bug on a rusty pin? Or a frowsy bird skin? A pickled fish? Because these are...

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