The passenger pigeon counted 3-5 billion and was the most abundant bird ever, but rapidly went to zero after the European settled in North America. New data published in PNAS by Hung et al. suggest that the species experienced dramatic population fluctuations also before human settlement, which suggest that it was very sensitive to climatic and ecological variation. It is hypothesized that a downward population trend occurred simultaneously with human exploitation in the late 1800s and that the combination of the two triggered the rapid extinction of the species.
Today I handled my last paper as subject editor for the journal Hereditas. Hereditas has been published by the Medelian Society since 1920 but will be closed next year.
After reading the recent posts in Nature arguing for or against the need of a new extended evolutionary synthesis (Laland et al. 2014 vs. Wray et al. 2104), I agree with the counterpoint: the suggested new synthesis actually doesn't look conceptually new, its central ideas seem already well-integrated in existing theories.