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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown


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100 Years Ago Today

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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passenger pigeonToday marks a sad centennial: the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), a species once so abundant that their flocks blacked out the skies of North America. Today the only passenger pigeons that remain are a handful of preserved specimens gathering dust in museum drawers and exhibits. These stuffed and mounted dead birds serve as a stark reminder, telling us that we did this, and yes, we’ll undoubtedly do it again.

The passenger pigeon: Gone, but not forgotten.

Photo: Tim Lenz via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license

John R. Platt About the Author: Twice a week, John Platt shines a light on endangered species from all over the globe, exploring not just why they are dying out but also what's being done to rescue them from oblivion. Follow on Twitter @johnrplatt.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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