Voices from Bird Bones

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Science  16 Feb 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5814, pp. 941-942
DOI: 10.1126/science.1137356

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Extinct Birds of New Zealand. By Alan Tennyson and Paul Martinson. Te Papa Press, Wellington, New Zealand, 2006. 190 pp. NZ$65. ISBN 9780909010218.

Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. By David W. Steadman. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2006. 608 pp. $110, £69.50. ISBN 9780226771410. Paper, $45, £28.50. ISBN 9780226771427.

Steadman uses the paleontological and archaeological records to reconstruct the prehistoric avian communities of tropical Pacific islands, chart their postsettlement fates, and discuss the theories of island biogeography. Tennyson and Martinson describe and portray 58 endemic species of birds that disappeared within a few hundred years of the settlement of New Zealand.