Environment: Vanishing Wildlife

Only moments ago in biological time, the earth abounded with a myriad of mammals, reptiles and fish that ran afoul of the iron laws of evolution and natural disaster, and are now extinct. But the most devastating killer has been man. Since 1600, when the first precise records were compiled, man has butchered creatures ranging from the abalone to the blue whale and the zebra. "During the past 150 years," says Ecologist Lee M. Talbot of the Smithsonian Institution, "the rate of extermination of mammals has increased 55-fold. If the killing goes on...

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