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Creature of the Deep

It’s been around since the dinosaurs, but it may now be close to extinction. What can we do to save the amazing sturgeon?

My first encounter with this ancient chimera came on a research vessel trolling just outside New York Harbor, within sight of Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster. The big fish lay still on the deck, enduring its examination with an uncanny self-possession as we ran our hands across its mottled brown crocodilian form and measured its massive armored torso — some four feet long and dense as a log sheathed in leather, studded head to tail with rows of hard, barbed scutes. Of course the antediluvian form was remarkable, but more so was the fish’s composure, a Zen-like patience we decided must derive from its antiquity.

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