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Earth Science

Humans Not Solely To Blame For Passenger Pigeon Extinction 53

sciencehabit (1205606) writes When the last passenger pigeon died at a zoo in 1914, the species became a cautionary tale of the dramatic impact humans can have on the world. But a new study finds that the bird experienced multiple population booms and crashes over the million years before its final demise. The sensitivity of the population to natural fluctuations, the authors argue, could have been what made it so vulnerable to extinction.
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Humans Not Solely To Blame For Passenger Pigeon Extinction

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  • by Ken_g6 ( 775014 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @05:36PM (#47249305) Homepage

    In discussion about potentially cloning passenger pigeons, there were concerns that the species needed huge flocks. As a result, there were concerns that cloning just a few wouldn't be enough to bring back the species.

    Since this study showed that passenger pigeons had population crashes before and came back, this should alleviate the flock size concerns.

  • Re:What's the Deal? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @09:57PM (#47251299) Journal
    You have it backwards, the media spins the results of science for percieved political gain, not the other way around. There is absolutely nothing political about the claim that other factors may have played a part in their extinction.

    As to the organic food study: Nutrition may not be "the point" in your mind, but there were certainly plenty of charlatans promoting it, there's even a 1970's clip on YT somewhere with Feynman himself having a go at the 'unscientific' claims of better nutrition from organically grow crops. The nutritional study injected facts into a factual vacum, even if nobody was interested in the study it is still worthy of publication. Nobody denies the health benfits of washing the copper-sulphate off your industrially grown tomatos before eating them (except maybe the pesticide company), but the study presented strong evidence that a tomato is a tomato no matter where it obtains the atoms that constitute it's genetically programmed flesh.

    If you're finding politics and ideology in evidence based statement like either of those studies, it's not because the scientists put it there, you did that yourself while you were looking for reasons to reject the findings.

    Disclaimer: I've been a "greenie" since the 70's, if the above findings are somehow an inconviennce to green politics then so be it, I want my government to formulate laws and policies that respect evidence, and adapt when contrary evidence is found. I want our politicins to be more like our scientists and engineers, get off their ideological high horses and get on with the job.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison