It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn.
—Mary Shelley (1797–1851), Frankenstein (1818)
Mass destruction—killing on a vast scale—is a uniquely human concern. It’s not that other animal species aren’t threatened by it. Many have been driven to extinction, and many more now teeter on the brink. But unlike human beings, even the most intelligent animals don’t worry about the possibility of being wiped out in a terrible catastrophe. It is only thanks to the human ability