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US naturalist dubbed modern-day Darwin, E.O. Wilson, dies at 92

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Edward O. Wilson, a US naturalist dubbed the “modern-day Darwin” died on Sunday at the age 92 in Massachusetts, his foundation said in a statement.

Alongside British naturalist David Attenborough, Wilson was considered one of the world’s leading authorities on natural history and conservation.

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Wilson’s Half-Earth Project calls for protecting half the planet’s land and sea so there are enough diverse and well-connected ecosystems to reverse the course of species extinction, which is happening at a rate not seen in 10 million years.

The United Nations has urged countries to commit to conserving 30 percent of their land and water –- almost double the area now under some form of protection -- by 2030, a target known as “30 by 30” and inspired in part by Wilson.

Wilson was also a world authority on ants, of which he discovered more than 400 species. He wrote two Pulitzer Prize-winning books and popularized the term “biodiversity.”

The Harvard University scientist had been living in a retirement community in the northeastern United States and had recently published the latest in a long series of books on biodiversity.

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