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Extinction is forever

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I was very moved by Ben Long’s essay on the impending extinction of Montana’s sturgeon (HCN, 9/29/03: Extinction — by the clock). His piece captured in a few words the finality of the extinction of species that link modern man to prehistory. I was reminded of the evocative words of William Beebe (1906): "The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again."

Tom Meacham
Anchorage, Alaska
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