Annie Alexander’s Contribution to Passenger Pigeon Research

An eyewitness account of trapping passenger pigeons in New Jersey in the early 1800s is one of only two publications by the woman who founded one of the premier paleontological museums in America. In 1927, a short communication was published in the journal The Condor that quoted a letter from John Thomas Waterhouse to his…… Continue reading Annie Alexander’s Contribution to Passenger Pigeon Research

Can Six Eggs Show Whether Passenger Pigeons Became Functionally Extinct?

David L. Roberts, Ivan Jarić and Andrew R. Solow, attempt to test the hypothesis that passenger pigeon became functionally extinct, “defined as permanent reproductive failure prior to true extinction” (p. 3) before their actual extinction in the wild around 1902. Martha, the last captive passenger pigeon, of course, survived until 1914, and you could say…… Continue reading Can Six Eggs Show Whether Passenger Pigeons Became Functionally Extinct?

The Video Rental Store/Passenger Pigeon Connection

It’s just a passing simile, but reviewer Joe Hill compares video rental stores, ubiquitous just a decade or two ago, with passenger pigeon flocks in his review of the book Universal Harvester, a mystery of sorts by lead Mountain Goat John Darnielle. Was the disappearance of video rental stores from the American landscape a sudden, overnight…… Continue reading The Video Rental Store/Passenger Pigeon Connection

3D Printing of Passenger Pigeon “Artifictions”

Just published and open access is a new article that demonstrates the value and potential of 3D scanning and printing for osteological identification of passenger pigeons and other extinct or rare animals. Some zooarchaeologists have been producing 3D images of animal bones for a while now. This article describes the next step, the creation of…… Continue reading 3D Printing of Passenger Pigeon “Artifictions”

The Oldest Passenger Pigeon Fossil

How old is the earliest passenger pigeon fossil?  A single wing bone found at the Lee Creek Mine paleontological locality in North Carolina is 3.7 to 4.8 million years old, a time period known as the Early Pliocene. It is reasonable to ask whether a fossil that old is from the same species as the historically…… Continue reading The Oldest Passenger Pigeon Fossil

Northernmost Passenger Pigeon Fossils Found Near Site of Controversial Dam Project

A controversial dam and reservoir planned for British Columbia, Canada, is expected to flood over 12,000 acres (5000 hectares) of land in the Peace River valley. The Peace River Valley is home to Charlie Lake Cave (also known as Tse’K’wa), where archaeologist Jonathan Driver identified what may be the northernmost passenger pigeon fossils ever found.…… Continue reading Northernmost Passenger Pigeon Fossils Found Near Site of Controversial Dam Project

John Lawson on Passenger Pigeons in Carolina

John Lawson arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1700. At the end of the year, he set off with nine other people on a two month long excursion through South and North Carolina, arriving on the Pamlico River on the 24th of February, 1701. Along the way, they encountered passenger pigeons more than once.  On…… Continue reading John Lawson on Passenger Pigeons in Carolina