Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pamela Rasmussen: the Oracle of Ornithology


Trey Rogers now faces stiff competition for biggest star on the Michigan State faculty. The Lawn Geek, renowned for his turf-care prowess, has long been my most beloved MSU expert. But he might have to share that top spot with Dr. Pamela Rasmussen, the Oracle of Ornithology

Dr. Rasmussen was featured in a New Yorker piece in 2006 for revealing famed birdist Col. Richard Meinertzhagen to be the biggest fraud in all of ornithology, if not taxonomy. The Oracle of O proved that the Bad Colonel stole thousands of bird specimens from the British Museum and claimed them as his own, which in the bird world is, like, really the wrong thing to do.

But Powerful Pamela hasn't rested on her laurels since then. The Lansing State Journal today reports that she has discovered a new bird species in Indonesia, called the Togian white-eye (although I'd have named it the ruffled Rasmussen, or the peaked Pamela). The craziest thing about it is that, while we're all going nuts over the discovery, this is old hat to the Oracle of O: It's her sixth discovery! Cock-a-doodle-doo!

1 comment:

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It called my attention that Pamela was called the Oracle of Ornithology. I have seen that girl on Television but I didn't know she was called like that.