The Last of its Kind review: How the great auk left an enduring legacy


F0MN2D Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis). Natural History Museum. University of Oslo. Norway.

The great auk was driven extinct by a scientific market for its eggs and stuffed remains

Oscar Dominguez/Alamy

The Last of Its Kind
Gísli Pálsson (Princeton University Press Out now in the US; in the UK 2 April)

IN 1858, John Wolley and Alfred Newton, two British scientists, travelled to Iceland to study the great auk, a large, flightless seabird. They hoped to observe the bird in its natural habitat and perhaps bring home an egg, a skin or a stuffed bird to add to their collections.

This didn’t quite work…

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