Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Haley Reading Group: Barry Yeoman’s "Billions to None"
[Best American Science and Nature Writing]
By Brittany Tuggle
Barry Yeoman’s article “Billions to None” focuses on the extinction of the passenger pigeon that dwindled over a century due to hunting and a genetic project deeply invested in bringing the bird back. To bring the bird back, scientists plan to genetically engineer the biology of the bird with other closely related pigeon species that will result in a passenger pigeon (adjacent) creature. However, the true controversy of the issue is that throwing this bird back into an ecosystem that has long adapted to living without it could culminate in unforeseeable consequences.
Yeoman’s discussion of how incredibly prominent the bird once was, per the title, was especially riveting. At one point, Yeoman explains that “These were passenger pigeons, Ectopistes migratorius, at the time the most abundant bird in North America and possibly the world” (297).
After reading Yeoman’s article, what was one point concerning the issues of de-extinction efforts that stood out to you? Why was that point or passage notable? Please provide a page number citation.