We ate the Passenger Pigeon into extinction. Known as a "cheap meat," the birds were whittled down by commercial slaughter hunters from flocks so gargantuan they darkened the sky to one long female: Martha, thought to be the last of her kind, died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.
Modern environmentalism arrived too late to save Martha's species, but researchers are combining DNA technology with specimen collections housed in museums around the world to help predict and plan for how today's birds might cope with environmental shifts. Animal trade and collection from the early 19th century and its oft-questionable ethics find redemption in helping modern conservation find a way forward.
Photo essay shot at the Moore Lab of Zoology.
“Johnie’s work doesn’t sacrifice color or subtlety in the name of action. Everything she captures feels like a tiny cut of the Iliad.”
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