Extinctions Past And Present

Famous for finding fossils of early humans, the author took up the cause of conservation. Here he champions a global fund for wildlife.

I spent some of the most exciting days of my life working on the eastern shores of Kenya's Lake Turkana, searching for the fossilized remains of our early ancestors. We did not always find what we wanted, but every day there was much more to discover than the traces of our own predecessors. The fossils, some quite complete, others mere fragments, spoke of another world in which the ancestors of many of today's African mammals roamed the rich grasslands and forest fringes between 1.5 million and 2 million years ago. The environment was not too different from the wetter grasslands of...

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