Storrs L. Olson

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Storrs Lovejoy Olson[1] (born April 3, 1944[1] in Chicago, Illinois) is an American biologist and ornithologist from the Smithsonian Institution. He is one of the world's foremost avian paleontologists.[2] He achieved a BSc in Biology 1965 and a DSc in Paleornithology 1969, at faculty of Biology, Johns Hopkins University.

An appointment with Alexander Wetmore in 1967 led him to his main research field of paleornithology[1] and to his work on Ascension Island and Saint Helena where he made remarkable discoveries in the 1970s, including the Saint Helena Hoopoe[3] and the Saint Helena Crake.[3] In 1976 he met his future wife Helen F. James[1] who later became another known paleornithologist herself, focusing on Late Quaternary prehistoric birds.[4]

During their pioneering research work on Hawaii, which lasted 23 years, Olson and James found and described the remains of 50 extinct bird species new to science, including the Nēnē-nui,[5] the Moa-nalos[5] the apteribises,[5] and the Grallistrix "stilt-owls".[5] He was also one of the authors of the description of the extinct rodent Noronhomys vespuccii.[6] In 1982, he discovered subfossil bones of the long ignored Brace's Emerald on the Bahamas, which gave evidence that this hummingbird is a valid and distinct species.[7] In November 1999, Olson wrote an open letter to the National Geographic Society, in which he criticized Christopher P. Sloan's claims about the dinosaur-to-bird transition which referred to the fake species Archaeoraptor.[8] In 2000, he helped to resolve the mystery of Necropsar leguati from the World Museum Liverpool, which turned out to be an albinistic specimen of the Grey Trembler.[9]

Olson was the 1994 recipient of the Loye and Alden Miller Research Award.[10] He was formerly curator of birds at the United States National Museum of Natural History; as of 2009, he holds an emeritus position in the institution.[11]

Several prehistoric bird species named after Storrs Olson, including Nycticorax olsoni,[12] Himantopus olsoni,[13] Puffinus olsoni[14] Primobucco olsoni,[15] Gallirallus storrsolsoni,[16] and Quercypodargus olsoni.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d The Washington Biologists' Field Club: its members and its history (1900–2006). The Washington Biologists’ Field Club, 2007, ISBN 978-0-615-16259-1
  2. ^ Loye and Alden Miller Research Award Recipients – Storrs Olson at the Wayback Machine (archived August 14, 2007). Cooper Ornithological Society
  3. ^ a b Olson, Storrs L. (1975). "Paleornithology of St Helena Island, south Atlantic Ocean". Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 23. 
  4. ^ Helen F. James. National Museum of Natural History. Smithsonian Institution
  5. ^ a b c d James, Helen F. & Olson, Storrs L. (1991). "Descriptions of thirty-two new species of birds from the Hawaiian Islands: Part I. Non-passeriformes". Ornithological Monographs 45: 42–47. doi:10.2307/40166794. 
  6. ^ Carleton, M.D. and Olson, S.L. (1999). "Amerigo Vespucci and the rat of Fernando de Noronha: a new genus and species of Rodentia (Muridae, Sigmodontinae) from a volcanic island off Brazil's continental shelf". American Museum Novitates 3256: 1–59. hdl:2246/3097. 
  7. ^ Graves, Gary R. and Olson, Storrs L. "Chlorostilbon bracei Lawrence, an extinct species of Hummingbird from New Providence Island, Bahamas". Auk 104 (2): 296–302. 
  8. ^ El 'escándalo archaeoraptor' José Luis Sanz y Francisco Ortega. El País, 16 February 2000
  9. ^ Olson, Storrs L.; Fleischer, Robert C.; Fisher, Clemency T. and Bermingham, Eldredge. "Expunging the ‘Mascarene starling’ Necropsar leguati: archives, morphology and molecules topple a myth". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 125 (1): 31–42. hdl:10088/1564. 
  10. ^ Loye and Alden Miller Research Award Recipients at the Wayback Machine (archived August 14, 2007). Cooper Ornithological Society
  11. ^ "Birds Staff, Division of Birds, NMNH". Retrieved 2009-12-11. 
  12. ^ Bourne, W. R. P., Ashmole, N. P. & Simmons K. E. L. (2003). "A new subfossil night heron and a new genus for the extinct rail from Ascension Island, central tropical Atlantic Ocean". Ardea 91 (1): 45–51. 
  13. ^ Bickart, K. J. (1990). "The birds of the late Miocene-early Pliocene Big Sandy Formation, Mohave County, Arizona". Ornithological Monographs 44 (44): 1–72. doi:10.2307/40166673. 
  14. ^ Rando, J. C.; Alcover, J. A. (2007). "Evidence for a second western Palaearctic seabird extinction during the last Millennium: The Lava Shearwater Puffinus olsoni". Ibis 150: 188. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00741.x. 
  15. ^ Feduccia, A. & Martin, L. D. (1976). "The Eocene zygodactyl birds of North America (Aves: Piciformes)". Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 27: 101–110. 
  16. ^ Kirchman, Jeremy J.; & Steadman, David W. (2006). "New Species of Rails (Aves: Rallidae) From an Archaeological Site on Huahine, Society Islands". Pacific Science 60 (2): 281–298. doi:10.1353/psc.2006.0007. hdl:10125/22565. 
  17. ^ Mourer-Cliauviré, C. (1989). "Les Caprimulgiformes et les Coraciiformes de l'Éocène et de l'Oligocène des phosphorites du Quercy et description de deux genres nouveaux de Podargidae et Nyctibiidae". Acta Congr. Int. Ornithol. 19: 2047–2055. 

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