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If we humans have proven anything in the millennia that have passed since we started walking upright, it’s that we can outlive shit. Countless species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and what-have-you have expired since the dawn of man. Indeed, according to one article on BBC News’ Web site, “as many as 122 species may have become extinct since 1980 and a third of known amphibians face oblivion.” Since 1980? Sure, things change, disease happens, stuff gets eaten, but c’mon—that’s some serious damage. Take the California condor, which has come close to going the proverbial way of the dodo: Despite a well-publicized effort to repopulate the bird, it remains on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered-species list. That it’s survived even this long seems like a miracle: The thing is basically a relic—like a leftover from the Cretaceous Period, it’s managed to stick around for about as long as we have—and its population once dwindled to the low 20s. That’s right, 20s. And though the condor has rebounded somewhat—into the 200s—the possibility of extinction remains. I mean, it does have to share real estate with Southern Californians. NPR correspondent John Nielsen, who’s written Condor: To the Brink and Back—The Life and Times of One Giant Bird, appears at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Mike Kanin)