Dinosaurs and vast numbers of other extinct reptiles are represented exclusively by bones. Today we have only turtles, lizards, snakes, crocodiles, and the lonely tuatara of New Zealand to remind us of the glory of the reptiles of the past. Humans have exploited seaturtles to the point of extinction, and in some parts of the world freshwater and land turtles also are being harvested at an alarming rate. Lizards, snakes, and crocodilians likewise are greatly in decline, though, ironically, the rare tuatara appears to be well protected. What a pity if our living reptiles, survivors of the catastrophic extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous, were to become extinct in a mere instant of geologic time as the result of human exploitation and neglect.

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