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Huge population fluctuations could have preceded passenger pigeon extinction

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(Phys.org) —In the 19th century, billions of passenger pigeons crowded the skies of North America. By 1914, the birds had become extinct. Previously, ecologists thought human activity was responsible for the passenger pigeon's sudden, rapid demise. Now, Shou-Hsien Li of National Taiwan Normal University and colleagues have found that changes in environmental conditions may have caused passenger pigeon populations to fluctuate dramatically. A natural decline in population, combined with human activity, may have resulted in extinction. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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