PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Scientists are worried about the future of Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences.
The academy, which has been struggling financially for more than a decade, is the home of one of the world's most valuable collections of biological specimens, critical to understanding life on Earth, the Philadelphia Enquirer reports.
"The academy is not just another museum," said Piotr Naskrecki, a Harvard University-based director of Conservation International. "It is a priceless library of biodiversity."
Budget shortfalls have forced the academy to shed many of the people who care for its 25 million specimens of fish, moss, coral, diatoms, dinosaur bones, birds, mammals, mollusks and plants.
While the institution has started to stem the losses in its operating budget, the larger financial drain is the cost of the scientific research the academy was founded to conduct, the newspaper said.
"People tend to think that the Age of Discovery was the time of all the great expeditions ... and that that age is over," said Ted R. Schultz, chairman of the entomology department at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. "We have not scratched the surface of the biological world," he said.
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