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Finalists chosen for 'Seven Wonders of Nature' poll

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(Read caption) The Great Barrier Reef, a coral reef system that stretches more than 1,600 miles near northeast Australia, is a finalist in an online poll to name the seven wonders of the natural world.

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In what is best described as "Herodotus meets ," the Grand Canyon, the Amazon Basin, and the Great Barrier Reef are facing off as finalists along with 25 others in a global popularity contest to name the new Seven Wonders of Nature.

The poll is being conducted by the Swiss nonprofit New7Wonders Foundation. Also among the finalists are Mt. Vesuvius, the Dead Sea, and the Matterhorn, as well as some less well-known sites such as the Bu Tinah Shoals, an archipelago in the United Arab Emirates; and the Sundarbans Delta, a mangrove forest at the mouth of the Ganges River.

A panel of experts led by Federico Mayor, who served as chief of UNESCO from 1987 to 1999, narrowed the 28 finalists down from a list of 77 nominees chosen in an earlier round of polling. The BBC reports that the panel, which also includes Greenpeace co-founder Rex Wyler, made their choices based on "geographical balance, diversity and the importance to human life."

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