100 Years – 100 Objects: Pink Pigeon


June 17, 2009
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The Houston Museum of Natural Science was founded in 1909 – meaning that the curators of the Houston Museum of Natural Science have been collecting and preserving natural and cultural treasures for a hundred years now. For this yearlong series, our current curators have chosen one hundred exceptional objects from the Museum’s immense storehouse of specimens and artifacts—one for each year of our history. Check back here frequently to learn more about this diverse selection of behind-the-scenes curiosities—we will post the image and description of a new object every few days.

This description is from Dan, the museum’s curator of vertebrate zoology. He’s chosen a selection of objects that represent the most fascinating animals in the Museum’s collections, that we’ll be sharing here – and at 100.hmns.org– throughout the year.

pink-pigeon_resizedThe Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri) is one of the larger forms of tree-dwelling pigeon in nature.  They are endemic to the island of Mauritius in the Mascarene Island chain, where the now popularly publicized, yet sadly extinct, Dodo bird (Raphus cucullatus) was found.  Indeed, these two forms were members of the same avian Family, Columbidae.

The Pink Pigeon is considered Critically Endangered by BirdLife International, with its numbers not exceeding 400 individuals.  This species is in all likelihood the rarest species of vertebrate in the collection.

You can see more images of this fascinating artifact – as well as the others we’ve posted so far this year – in the 100 Objects section at 100.hmns.org

Dan
Authored By Dan Brooks

As the HMNS Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Dr. Dan is known as ‘the guy with the most backbone’ in the museum! He curates four permanent exhibits at the museum, where he was worked as a full-time staff member since 1999. He has described 10 new species to date, and is very active in local (hmns.org/houstonwildlife) and international (Southeast Asia and Latin America) wildlife research, especially with gamebirds. Afflicted with the inability to ‘shake the nature bug’, when he’s not at work in the museum, one of his favorite things to do is scouting and exploring the great outdoors with his family.

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