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What's Worth Saving?

A fracas over a biological term could have huge consequences for conservation

By
5:05pm, February 3, 2004

Conservation biologists became so worked up at this summer's annual meeting that nearly 100 of them convened a special late session at a local pizza parlor. The previous 2 days of talk did not seem to have dimmed passions, and their debate, fueled by pepperoni and extra cheese, raged for 4 hours. The only reason it didn't last all night, or perhaps all week, was that the restaurant staff ushered the crowd out at 11:30 p.m.

The topic that caused so much excitement? How to define an evolutionarily significant unit.

Really.

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