The Morality Of Conservation

Jerry Coyne expands Richard Conniff's latest riff on the benefit of diversity:

Morality is evolving over time, so that many people now see it as immoral to cause needless pain in animals.  We don’t use chimps in medical research if macaques will do, and won’t use macaques if mice will do.  People are rising up against battery chickens.  It would be nice if we could extend that morality to ecosystems as well, recognizing that they have a simple right to exist because their species are just as evolved as we are.