SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Records of Birds from a Time Gone By
from the San Francisco Chronicle
At first glance, the contents of the 15 glass jars in Sam Droege's collection do not look like much--bivalve shells, twigs, a fishhook. But they hint at a story that would fill a vast ornithological library. In fact, they once did.
The jars are the remnants of the federal government's first major study of birds. From 1885 to the 1940s, scientists from the Division of Economic Ornithology in the U.S. Agriculture Department dissected at least 230,000 bird stomachs. The aim was to determine which species were helping farmers and which were harmful.
To do so, the government scientists went out shooting and recruited local hunters to donate birds' innards to science. At the dissection table, the scientists recorded the stomach contents of each bird in meticulous detail--for one mallard duck, a scientist estimated that it had eaten 72,710 seeds from various plants--and preserved many of them in jars at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland.
Connect With Us:
VIDEO: The Promise and Peril of Drones
The automation of tasks at work and at home is just around the corner, including driving cars, piloting planes, delivering packages, and transporting weapons. Unmanned aerial vehicles are rapidly evolving to meet both society’s and the military’s needs in automation and better efficiency.
During her time as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy, Dr. Missy Cummings observed that computers could take off and land a plane more precisely than humans. Because of this breakthrough and her fascination with this growing technology, she began human–drone interaction research.
To view all multimedia content, click "Latest Multimedia."
Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.