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to accept the new and probably far more difficult challenge of working out the precise history of reticulation events for each organismal group and how such reticulate genealogical histories have idiosyncratically distributed particular bits and pieces of DNA from disparate sources to extant taxa. Traditional concepts of species, phylogeny, ancestry, and classification, as well as the significance of reproductive isolation, would all have to be reevaluated. Biologists would have to embrace the notion that biological processes falling somewhat outside the standard neo-Darwinian paradigm for speciation (such as interspecific hybridization and the reproductive stabilization of genetic-recombinant derivatives) could play major and previously underappreciated roles in evolution. They would have to reevaluate the origins of genetic variation on which natural selection acts and how novel phenotypic adaptations and different forms of life mechanistically come into being. In short, major shifts in evolutionary thought would be required, and this would open wonderful opportunities for the eventual emergence of a grandly updated evolutionary synthesis, 21st-century style.


…suppose that the United States and the other leading developed countries could agree on a regular allocation for global biodiversity protection so that billions of dollars, rather than millions, could annually flow into parks and park protection. What then?

John Terborgh (1999)


In an eloquent requiem for nature, Terborgh (1999) has argued that, in the face of a globally burgeoning human population, the only credible prospect for preserving substantial biodiversity will be for governments [or other entities such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)] to set aside extensive nature sanctuaries and then actively protect those parklands in perpetuity. Many countries, including the United States, have long-established systems of National Parks that usually feature special landscapes and geological formations (such as the picturesque rocky shores of Acadia Park in Maine, the majestic mountains of Glacier Park in Montana, or the special volcanic features of Yellowstone Park in Wyoming). A growing realization is that analogous and extensive reserve systems across the globe also are urgently needed to offer explicit protection for the biological world’s special features, such as endangered species, distinctive biotic communities and ecosystems, and biodiversity “hotspots” (Myers, 1990; Reid, 1998).

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