The snakes we lost in the fire

How do you replace a 100-year-old collection of preserved snakes and spiders that's been used by scientists all around the world to study the workings of evolution? Researchers at Sao Paulo's Instituto Butantan are trying to figure that out in the wake of a devastating fire that destroyed the largest collection of dead snakes, spiders and scorpions in the world. Some 80,000 snakes and several thousand spiders and scorpions were lost, including several specimens that had never been cataloged. Beyond simple scientific curiosity, the collection played an important role in helping scientists understand and prevent extinctions. You could always collect another 100K creepy crawlies, but they wouldn't cover the same significant historic ground.