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(Slate)   One hundred years ago, the last passenger pigeon in the world died under mysterious circumstances, and now someone is investigation the murder tonight on Law & Order: Special Vermin Unit   (slate.com) divider line 60
    More: Interesting, luck, heredity, murders  
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3105 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Mar 2014 at 9:04 AM (32 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-10 08:59:12 AM  
It was obviously Muttley.
 
2014-03-10 09:03:25 AM  
"someone is investigation"
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-03-10 09:10:26 AM  
I considered going to the author's talk at Harvard yesterday, but the press made it look like he was just doing environmentalist advocacy rather than adding to the story. The decline of the Passenger Pigeon was chronicled well by Schorger 60 years ago. Greenberg seems to have a little more to say about the captive breeding attempts, but we don't have a lot of new information in the last century.
 
2014-03-10 09:11:52 AM  
"Vermin", subby?

By all accounts, they were extremely tasty, which was part of the reason they went extinct.  You can look up high-end restaurant menus from 1800's NYC, and find them on the menu.
 
2014-03-10 09:11:52 AM  
Someone is investigation mah lazers!!!
 
2014-03-10 09:12:13 AM  
So close subby....so close
 
2014-03-10 09:12:52 AM  
25.media.tumblr.com
/unavailable for comment
 
2014-03-10 09:13:16 AM  
The old National Lampoon magazine had a wonderful Audubon portrait of the bird.
Well, it was a branch with a blood spot on it and a bullet hole through a leaf.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-03-10 09:13:27 AM  
Missed this part of the headline: Law & Order: Special Vermin Unit.

Wild pigeons were vermin much like rats, but tastier. They swarmed over fields during planting and ate the seed. They made a huge mess in the woods where they nested. After laws were passed protecting the species, juries of farmers refused to convict.
 
2014-03-10 09:13:37 AM  
It was delicious.
 
2014-03-10 09:14:43 AM  

calbert: "someone is investigation"


Then who was phone???
 
2014-03-10 09:14:52 AM  

PunGent: "Vermin", subby?

By all accounts, they were extremely tasty, which was part of the reason they went extinct.  You can look up high-end restaurant menus from 1800's NYC, and find them on the menu.


/Tiny fist.
 
2014-03-10 09:15:15 AM  
Tasted like chicken.
 
2014-03-10 09:16:06 AM  
www.imfdb.org
 
2014-03-10 09:16:08 AM  
Subby, your headline is make my head asplode.
 
2014-03-10 09:17:58 AM  
Then who was phone, subby?
 
2014-03-10 09:24:24 AM  
Is you is, or is you ain't my investigation
 
2014-03-10 09:44:57 AM  

PunGent: "Vermin", subby?

By all accounts, they were extremely tasty, which was part of the reason they went extinct.  You can look up high-end restaurant menus from 1800's NYC, and find them on the menu.


Actually, as I recall, they were cheap meat, not fancy.  Because they could be hunted so easily, and there were so many of them, they ended up being the sort of thing you could afford if you couldn't afford beef, pork, or chicken.

Or, if you were a cheap bastard, the sort of thing you'd feed your slaves or servants.
 
2014-03-10 09:50:35 AM  
Passenger pigeon? They were used to carry people? That's crazy!
 
2014-03-10 09:51:07 AM  
It was Colonel Mustard in the aviary with a candlestick
 
2014-03-10 09:55:12 AM  

Target Builder: [www.imfdb.org image 500x380]


"FLANDERS PIDGEON MURDERER!"
 
2014-03-10 09:55:55 AM  

gnosis301: Passenger pigeon? They were used to carry people? That's crazy!


farm8.staticflickr.com
 
2014-03-10 09:58:50 AM  
At the Cincinatti Zoo you can visit the remains of the actual very last passenger pigeon
 
2014-03-10 09:59:39 AM  
upload.wikimedia.org

Oops, didn't preview. Spelled Cincinnati wrong too
 
2014-03-10 10:01:45 AM  
Cripes I left out "wild" too
 
2014-03-10 10:04:10 AM  

Crudbucket: calbert: "someone is investigation"

Then who was phone???


The accidentally the whole thing.
 
2014-03-10 10:05:46 AM  
*Duh* *Dunnn*
 
2014-03-10 10:19:58 AM  
There are plans to bring back the Passenger Pigeon (Wired Article).

No one is sure if its smart or stupid... Therefore, we must do it; if for no other reason to show nature who's the boss.
 
2014-03-10 10:21:26 AM  

ZAZ: I considered going to the author's talk at Harvard yesterday, but the press made it look like he was just doing environmentalist advocacy rather than adding to the story. The decline of the Passenger Pigeon was chronicled well by Schorger 60 years ago. Greenberg seems to have a little more to say about the captive breeding attempts, but we don't have a lot of new information in the last century.


NY TIme did a LONG, but very interesting  article recently about using DNA engineering to revive extinct species and it looks like the passenger pigeon may be the first one they attempt , partially because the guy driving the de-extinction movement has long been obsessed with them.  What I didn't realize, until I read that article is what a tragedy the extinction really was.   Apparently the Passenger Pigeon was once the single most common vertebrate in North America, and naturalists in the 19th century observed single flocks composed of more than 3 BILLION birds (by comparison, it is estimated there are 256 million TOTAL grey pigeons in the whole US).

Somehow, in less than 100 years, mostly through intentional hunting we went from (blacken the sky ) to ZERO
 
2014-03-10 10:27:06 AM  

Magorn: Somehow, in less than 100 years, mostly through intentional hunting we went from (blacken the sky ) to ZERO


I'm truly torn. I would love to see bird flying around in flocks so dense, they literally black out the sun for hours. But at the same time, they did mention the 1/4" of bird poop they'd produce at the same time. Good for your lawn; bad for your car.
 
2014-03-10 10:31:54 AM  

Destructor: There are plans to bring back the Passenger Pigeon (Wired Article).

No one is sure if its smart or stupid... Therefore, we must do it; if for no other reason to show nature who's the boss.


According to the NY TImes article, there is HUGE controversy over the ide of "de-extinction"   most of the work is being funded by silicon valley types, not traditional environmental and conservation groups right now and al lot of them really don;t like it.   First, which to me  is a somewhat stupid reason, the conservationists worry that if people get the idea that we can just bring species back at will, people won;t pay attention any more when conservationist warn that certain species are on the bring of extinction.  More substantive is the argument  that it offers a technological "quick fix" that will cause people to focus on just reviving the species and not to fixing the underlying environmental causes that led to its extinction. Finally, as biologists point out, the revived species really WOULDN'T be the former species.   The DNA would be a best guess rather than an actual copy, and then the new DNA would need to be implanted in the egg of a related species and raised by that species, meaning that behavior patterns, instincts etc could be altered from the original.

Still, personally I am for it.  I have always wanted to see a Tasmanian Tiger or an Auroch and it's been AGES  since I've smelled the distinct odor of dew-covered mammoth early in the morning (obscure?)
 
2014-03-10 10:33:17 AM  

Magorn: ZAZ: I considered going to the author's talk at Harvard yesterday, but the press made it look like he was just doing environmentalist advocacy rather than adding to the story. The decline of the Passenger Pigeon was chronicled well by Schorger 60 years ago. Greenberg seems to have a little more to say about the captive breeding attempts, but we don't have a lot of new information in the last century.

NY TIme did a LONG, but very interesting  article recently about using DNA engineering to revive extinct species and it looks like the passenger pigeon may be the first one they attempt , partially because the guy driving the de-extinction movement has long been obsessed with them.  What I didn't realize, until I read that article is what a tragedy the extinction really was.   Apparently the Passenger Pigeon was once the single most common vertebrate in North America, and naturalists in the 19th century observed single flocks composed of more than 3 BILLION birds (by comparison, it is estimated there are 256 million TOTAL grey pigeons in the whole US).

Somehow, in less than 100 years, mostly through intentional hunting we went from (blacken the sky ) to ZERO


From  TFNYTA: "The first time Ben Novak saw a passenger pigeon, he fell to his knees and remained in that position, speechless, for 20 minutes."

Is Ben Novak also autistic? They make it sound plausible in that opening paragraph.
 
2014-03-10 10:34:52 AM  

Destructor: Magorn: Somehow, in less than 100 years, mostly through intentional hunting we went from (blacken the sky ) to ZERO

I'm truly torn. I would love to see bird flying around in flocks so dense, they literally black out the sun for hours. But at the same time, they did mention the 1/4" of bird poop they'd produce at the same time. Good for your lawn; bad for your car.


Just think of the Boon to the organic gunpowder production industry...
Wonder if  the local weather would have to issue "flock warnings" like snow advisories and have people go cover their cars when the birds were incoming, or at least pull up their windshield wipers
 
2014-03-10 10:43:54 AM  

Magorn: Still, personally I am for it. I have always wanted to see a Tasmanian Tiger or an Auroch and it's been AGES since I've smelled the distinct odor of dew-covered mammoth early in the morning (obscure?)


So long as the bird we bring back has the same incredibly stupid behavior and survival patterns, I don't think we have much to worry about. There's a very good reason they went extinct... Their survival strategy worked on the idea of satiating their predators.

If mankind is good at one thing; its not being easy to satiate. In short, they were no match for us. Delicious, easily obtainable egg (they only laid one egg, if memory serves me)... either close to, or near the ground. And I guess the birds were good eatin'. Again: Not optimal for survival. They'd build so many nests on the same branch, that often time the branch would simply collapse under the weight. So, not too bright either.

If they ever became a problem... We'd simply extinct 'em again. It was easy enough the first time, and we weren't even trying.

As far as the Tasmanian Tiger and Mammoth, those are no brainers, IMHO. Of course we bring them back. I feel that way about all mammals dog sized or larger. :-)
 
2014-03-10 10:49:55 AM  

gnosis301: Passenger pigeon? They were used to carry people? That's crazy!


It's not a question of where he grips him! It's a simple question of weight ratios! A five ounce bird could not carry a 160 pound person.
 
2014-03-10 10:51:00 AM  

Magorn: I have always wanted to see a Tasmanian Tiger or an Auroch and it's been AGES  since I've smelled the distinct odor of dew-covered mammoth early in the morning


I love the smell of mammoth in the morning.  Smells like... Pleistocene.

/Ogg don't surf.
 
2014-03-10 11:05:45 AM  
Anyone who lives in an area where starlings roost knows better than to wish for the return of the passenger pigeon...
 
jvl
2014-03-10 11:29:51 AM  

Destructor: There are plans to bring back the Passenger Pigeon (Wired Article).

No one is sure if its smart or stupid... Therefore, we must do it; if for no other reason to show nature who's the boss.


It's stupid. Passenger pigeons went extinct in the wild because they depend on being a common specifies. They feel free to wander off on the assumption that they will find a new flock. Once market hunters killed most of the flocks, the species was doomed. So unless you can establish many millions in the wild, you can't establish them at all.

Meanwhile, say goodbye to the Rusty Blackbird which is having similar problems: it's population may be too low now to avoid extinction.
 
2014-03-10 11:36:29 AM  

Destructor: Magorn: Still, personally I am for it. I have always wanted to see a Tasmanian Tiger or an Auroch and it's been AGES since I've smelled the distinct odor of dew-covered mammoth early in the morning (obscure?)

So long as the bird we bring back has the same incredibly stupid behavior and survival patterns, I don't think we have much to worry about. There's a very good reason they went extinct... Their survival strategy worked on the idea of satiating their predators.

If mankind is good at one thing; its not being easy to satiate. In short, they were no match for us. Delicious, easily obtainable egg (they only laid one egg, if memory serves me)... either close to, or near the ground. And I guess the birds were good eatin'. Again: Not optimal for survival. They'd build so many nests on the same branch, that often time the branch would simply collapse under the weight. So, not too bright either.

If they ever became a problem... We'd simply extinct 'em again. It was easy enough the first time, and we weren't even trying.


This. Sometimes there are *good* reasons why species go extinct. Just because you feel guilty about it doesn't mean the world wasn't done a favor. We hunted smallpox to extinction as well, after all.

/still, whatever it takes to motivate interest in genetic research
//genetic monoculture is a bad thing, we should at least have a means available to restore genetic diversity when we need it
///just a tip, you'll get a lot more investors if you restore something awesome, like mammoths or dinosaurs, than by restoring pigeons and dodos
 
2014-03-10 11:40:43 AM  

nanim: Anyone who lives in an area where starlings roost knows better than to wish for the return of the passenger pigeon...


jvl: It's stupid. Passenger pigeons went extinct in the wild because they depend on being a common specifies. They feel free to wander off on the assumption that they will find a new flock. Once market hunters killed most of the flocks, the species was doomed. So unless you can establish many millions in the wild, you can't establish them at all.


Hmmm. You guys bring up compelling arguments. Perhaps we should focus on the mammoth instead. They seem like they would be easier to manage... (famous last words)

On the other hand, as a technology testbed concerning genetics with vertebrates, this animal might be perfect for exactly the reasons jyl mentions. If it does somehow "get out", there's little chance "nature will find a way" to turn it into a menace.

/Jurassic Park taught me nothing.
 
2014-03-10 12:29:28 PM  

Tatterdemalian: Destructor: Magorn: Still, personally I am for it. I have always wanted to see a Tasmanian Tiger or an Auroch and it's been AGES since I've smelled the distinct odor of dew-covered mammoth early in the morning (obscure?)

So long as the bird we bring back has the same incredibly stupid behavior and survival patterns, I don't think we have much to worry about. There's a very good reason they went extinct... Their survival strategy worked on the idea of satiating their predators.

If mankind is good at one thing; its not being easy to satiate. In short, they were no match for us. Delicious, easily obtainable egg (they only laid one egg, if memory serves me)... either close to, or near the ground. And I guess the birds were good eatin'. Again: Not optimal for survival. They'd build so many nests on the same branch, that often time the branch would simply collapse under the weight. So, not too bright either.

If they ever became a problem... We'd simply extinct 'em again. It was easy enough the first time, and we weren't even trying.

This. Sometimes there are *good* reasons why species go extinct. Just because you feel guilty about it doesn't mean the world wasn't done a favor. We hunted smallpox to extinction as well, after all.

/still, whatever it takes to motivate interest in genetic research
//genetic monoculture is a bad thing, we should at least have a means available to restore genetic diversity when we need it
///just a tip, you'll get a lot more investors if you restore something awesome, like mammoths or dinosaurs, than by restoring pigeons and dodo


I would argue that the Kacapo, a rapidly going instinct NZ parrot, is a prime example of a "good reason" for the extinction of its species.  As hilariously described by Douglas Adams   Last Chance to See it has a horribly bad mating strategy and its response to being threatened by predators is either to completely freeze in place, or run to top of the nearest tall object and throw themselves off it in an attempt to fly away and flee the predator-which would work a whole lot better if they weren't a flightless bird.
 
2014-03-10 12:39:32 PM  
I'm not a fan of zoos; they're an anachronism in the 21st century, however I do on occasion take my kids to Cincinnati zoo. My favorite place there is the statue of Martha. Most people walk right by it and the hut thing near it with the information always seems neglected and full of leaves and stuff. It's not like it's out of the way or anything, it's just 'boring' to most people. It's not farkin lions or elephants.

We killed every single one of these damn birds until there were not enough left to continue breeding. Not for eating or for a cull but for sport. How farkin' shameful. We darn near did it with buffalo too.
 
2014-03-10 12:44:52 PM  

stellarossa: I'm not a fan of zoos; they're an anachronism in the 21st century, however I do on occasion take my kids to Cincinnati zoo. My favorite place there is the statue of Martha. Most people walk right by it and the hut thing near it with the information always seems neglected and full of leaves and stuff. It's not like it's out of the way or anything, it's just 'boring' to most people. It's not farkin lions or elephants.

We killed every single one of these damn birds until there were not enough left to continue breeding. Not for eating or for a cull but for sport. How farkin' shameful. We darn near did it with buffalo too.


The story of the bison is more complex and you are basically never told it in US history class.  We weren't shooting all those buffalo just for giggles as the history books tend to tell it, but as part of a deliberate attempt to break to power of the Indian nations. Gen Sherman of civil war fame was tasked with pacifying the west after the war and he quickly realized so long as nomadic Indians had access to nearly unlimited food supplies there would never be a way to control them.   So, practical and ruthless man that he was, he decided to take away their food supply, to essentially starve them into submission, and thus pushed for policies that encouraged mass slaughter of buffalo and even paid a bounty  for killing them
 
2014-03-10 01:00:16 PM  

Magorn: stellarossa: I'm not a fan of zoos; they're an anachronism in the 21st century, however I do on occasion take my kids to Cincinnati zoo. My favorite place there is the statue of Martha. Most people walk right by it and the hut thing near it with the information always seems neglected and full of leaves and stuff. It's not like it's out of the way or anything, it's just 'boring' to most people. It's not farkin lions or elephants.

We killed every single one of these damn birds until there were not enough left to continue breeding. Not for eating or for a cull but for sport. How farkin' shameful. We darn near did it with buffalo too.

The story of the bison is more complex and you are basically never told it in US history class.  We weren't shooting all those buffalo just for giggles as the history books tend to tell it, but as part of a deliberate attempt to break to power of the Indian nations. Gen Sherman of civil war fame was tasked with pacifying the west after the war and he quickly realized so long as nomadic Indians had access to nearly unlimited food supplies there would never be a way to control them.   So, practical and ruthless man that he was, he decided to take away their food supply, to essentially starve them into submission, and thus pushed for policies that encouraged mass slaughter of buffalo and even paid a bounty  for killing them


I never learned any of that as I was brought up in a different country however you are correct. I happened to read Nathaniel Philbrick's 'The Last Stand' the other week and it goes into exactly what you're talking about in the early chapters. The move to have all Indians on reservations etc.
 
2014-03-10 01:02:01 PM  

Grungehamster: Target Builder: [www.imfdb.org image 500x380]

"FLANDERS PIDGEON MURDERER!"


I love a fair trial.
 
2014-03-10 01:17:19 PM  

Destructor: Magorn: Still, personally I am for it. I have always wanted to see a Tasmanian Tiger or an Auroch and it's been AGES since I've smelled the distinct odor of dew-covered mammoth early in the morning (obscure?)

So long as the bird we bring back has the same incredibly stupid behavior and survival patterns, I don't think we have much to worry about. There's a very good reason they went extinct... Their survival strategy worked on the idea of satiating their predators.

If mankind is good at one thing; its not being easy to satiate. In short, they were no match for us. Delicious, easily obtainable egg (they only laid one egg, if memory serves me)... either close to, or near the ground. And I guess the birds were good eatin'. Again: Not optimal for survival. They'd build so many nests on the same branch, that often time the branch would simply collapse under the weight. So, not too bright either.

If they ever became a problem... We'd simply extinct 'em again. It was easy enough the first time, and we weren't even trying.

As far as the Tasmanian Tiger and Mammoth, those are no brainers, IMHO. Of course we bring them back. I feel that way about all mammals dog sized or larger. :-)


How about Hitler?  Going to bring HIM back, smart guy?

:)
 
2014-03-10 01:18:04 PM  

Magorn: stellarossa: I'm not a fan of zoos; they're an anachronism in the 21st century, however I do on occasion take my kids to Cincinnati zoo. My favorite place there is the statue of Martha. Most people walk right by it and the hut thing near it with the information always seems neglected and full of leaves and stuff. It's not like it's out of the way or anything, it's just 'boring' to most people. It's not farkin lions or elephants.

We killed every single one of these damn birds until there were not enough left to continue breeding. Not for eating or for a cull but for sport. How farkin' shameful. We darn near did it with buffalo too.

The story of the bison is more complex and you are basically never told it in US history class.  We weren't shooting all those buffalo just for giggles as the history books tend to tell it, but as part of a deliberate attempt to break to power of the Indian nations. Gen Sherman of civil war fame was tasked with pacifying the west after the war and he quickly realized so long as nomadic Indians had access to nearly unlimited food supplies there would never be a way to control them.   So, practical and ruthless man that he was, he decided to take away their food supply, to essentially starve them into submission, and thus pushed for policies that encouraged mass slaughter of buffalo and even paid a bounty  for killing them


I really like the way buffalo meat tastes. They also have soft fur. Good inside and out, the buffalo is.
 
2014-03-10 01:18:41 PM  

Magorn: Destructor: Magorn: Somehow, in less than 100 years, mostly through intentional hunting we went from (blacken the sky ) to ZERO

I'm truly torn. I would love to see bird flying around in flocks so dense, they literally black out the sun for hours. But at the same time, they did mention the 1/4" of bird poop they'd produce at the same time. Good for your lawn; bad for your car.

Just think of the Boon to the organic gunpowder production industry...
Wonder if  the local weather would have to issue "flock warnings" like snow advisories and have people go cover their cars when the birds were incoming, or at least pull up their windshield wipers


Heh..."Your flight out of O'Hare is delayed...for three days."

Wouldn't want to suck a couple thousand birds into the intakes on takeoff...
 
2014-03-10 01:54:10 PM  

Magorn: I would argue that the Kacapo, a rapidly going instinct NZ parrot


Another very cool bird. Magorn, you sure know the really cool dead/almost dead birds! Here's a nice Wired article fun fact list on them.

Special powers: They smell nice, make great pets, and are the world's largest (not dead*) parrot.
Weaknesses: Can't fly. Like Magorn said, incredibly bad survival strategy... Poor things.

(I wonder if they make good house pets. I'm sure my cats would love 'em.)

_______
*soon...


PunGent: Of course we bring them back. I feel that way about all mammals dog sized or larger. :-)

How about Hitler? Going to bring HIM back, smart guy?


Only because I want to put his brain in a shark. Oh, I know... But now, all of a sudden, we've gone too far! (As a practical matter, no DNA.)
 
2014-03-10 02:23:10 PM  

misanthropologist: From  TFNYTA: "The first time Ben Novak saw a passenger pigeon, he fell to his knees and remained in that position, speechless, for 20 minutes."


Hmm. 20 minutes is the altered-state timeout. Not surprising, then.
 
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