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The Meaning of Endling

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One of the most powerful and most poignant words you’ll ever hear isn’t in dictionaries yet, although it probably will be eventually. An endling is the last surviving member of a species. The story of its origin is a marvelous one, involving a Georgia convalescent center, a letter to the editor in the journal Nature, a museum exhibit in Australia involving the now-extinct thylacine, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and much more. Historian Dolly Jorgensen has written compellingly about this word, as has essayist Elena Passarrello in her book Animals Strike Curious Poses. This is part of a complete episode.

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