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The April 18th issue of Science magazine included a piece by Ben Minteer of Arizona State University, and co-authors, “Avoiding (re)extinction“. The authors argued that the collection of specimens for biological research has, and may continue to place species at heightened risk of extinction, citing among other things stories such as the collection of the last remaining individuals of the Great Auk, as if those extinctions could be attributed to scientific collecting. The piece was very ill-conceived and poorly supported by evidence, basically constructing a straw man in the interest of argument (“But this is just contradiction.” “No it isn’t!”). Luiz Rocha, one of my colleagues here at the California Academy of Sciences, led a response which eventually involved 134 scientists hailing from 64 institutions around the world. Our response was published last week, also in Science. I cannot print any of the letters here, but I will include a link to our press summary.
SCIENTIFIC COLLECTIONS PLAY VITAL ROLE IN CONSERVATION BIOLOGY

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