Talk:Rodrigues solitaire

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Featured article Rodrigues solitaire is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Featured topic star Rodrigues solitaire is part of the Raphinae series, a featured topic. This is identified as among the best series of articles produced by the Wikipedia community. If you can update or improve it, please do so.
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Might as well quote the few accounts at length, they're in the public domain, and most books about the bird I've read publish them in full. FunkMonk (talk) 04:32, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

On a different note, some 19th century and early 20th century sources mention that a supposed gizzard stone of this bird is housed in Cambridge, but no later sources mention it. Anyone know what happened to it, and if it was genuine? FunkMonk (talk) 19:58, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Rodrigues Solitaire/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: J Milburn (talk · contribs) 23:00, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Looks like a very interesting article. Happy to offer a review. J Milburn (talk) 23:00, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

  • "and went extinct by the mid-1700s" went... in..., or was... by..., I'd say. Perhaps "had gone by", but that's a bit passive.
I chose "was extinct by".
  • "oiseau bleu" Are bird names not considered proper nouns on Wikipedia, generally? There are some other examples in that paragraph which need fixing.
Do you mean they should be capitalised? I've done that, but I'm not sure if it's what you mean.
Yep, much better. J Milburn (talk) 10:48, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
  • While Leguat's prose is quite striking, two issues arise. Firstly, and this may sound an odd thing to say, it was presumably written in French. As such, we are not "preserving" anything when we use the archaic language and punctuation, and so it could reasonably be updated. However, secondly, a heavy reliance on blockquotes is not really an appropriate writing style for an encyclopedia entry. Might I recommend the use of a template like this for some of the finer lines, while keeping the pertinent details in the main article body (but making it clear where the information is coming from). This would certainly be the best way to approach the issue in the description section, at least.
You're right about the archaic language, but I thought it would be "original research" or something if I fixed it. But I believe the wording has been updated in later editions of the book, so I'll see if I can substitute the quotes with some of those. As for the manner of quoting, I was thinking I could maybe break it up in smaller pieces, and add some commentary from modern sources in between? I've added such comments after the huge chunk of text, but it could easily be dispersed. This quoting style was used in the FA Mary Anning, see under here[1] I think it would be a bit of a shame to remove too much of the quotes, since every source about the bird quote the accounts at length, and still paraphrase it extremely closely in addition. There simply isn't much else known about the bird.
I understand precisely what you're saying, and I actually reviewed that article at FAC. I don't personally object too enormously to it, I'm just aware that others would see it as an inappropriate writing style for a biological article. If you're copying the style of the secondary sources, then please, leave it how it is. I would like to see more said in "Wikipedia's" voice, so it's something to consider, but it isn't the end of the world. J Milburn (talk) 10:47, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Ok, first I'll try to break it up and add more interpretation from the sources in between if possible, and I'll see if I can find a more recent translation. I'll see if there are redundancie that coud be left out. If it still doesn't work, I'll cut it down. FunkMonk (talk) 20:59, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
  • "to make a point of moral." This doesn't make sense
I've changed the wording, but I'm not sure if it's what you had in mind? Not sure how to word it best, really.
I've rephrased; are you happy with my wording? J Milburn (talk) 10:48, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Yep, thanks! FunkMonk (talk) 20:59, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
  • "Alexandre Guy Pingré did not encounter any Solitaires when he visited Rodrigues to observe the 1761 transit of Venus, though he had been told they still survived, but his friend Pierre Charles Le Monnier named the star constellation Turdus Solitarius after the bird, to commemorate the journey." Sentence could do with being split
  • I find the article lacking in any kind of accurate description of the size of the birds; just comparisons to others. As we have full skeletons, this is known, I assume?
Whoops, don't know how I missed that, added!

Very well sourced and illustrated; all sources seem reliable, all illustrations PD. A very interesting and well-written article. J Milburn (talk) 23:38, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the quick review, I thought I'd have to wait for months! I'll go ahead and fix the issues you mention now... FunkMonk (talk) 23:41, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
I've added some comments above. Apart from that, is there anything you think should be expanded? I could very well have overlooked something, but I've almost exhausted the sources, what's left is more specific info about Leguat himself and Rodrigues, as well as osteological details. A few more lines could perhaps be written about the somewhat complex taxonomic history. FunkMonk (talk) 00:35, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Detailed osteological details (or, more commonly, details of dentition) are quite common in high-quality articles on extinct species. It could have its own subsection in the description, so that the more tedious details were kept out of what would interest the non-specialist reader. It's certainly something to add if you're looking towards FAC (which, by the way, I'd recommend; there's a good community of biologists who would be willing to help you out; for instance, Casliber writes on both birds and extinct creatures, Ucucha has written much on extinct mammals, Jimfbleak writes a lot about birds). Adding to the taxonomic history is good; for instance, I find myself wondering what the generic name refers to. A few other nitpicks-
  • The details about the "knuckle" are seemingly repeated over and over.
  • We also have no account of what the species lived off food-wise, as far as I can see. My apologies if I've skimmed over it in a blockquote.
I think I'll try to go all the way now, if you have more suggestions you would otherwise leave for FA, I'd be happy to see if I can implement it already. I'll add some of its skeletal distinctions, and see if I can find an etymology, as well as the other things you suggested. Do you know of a bird FA/GA which explains skeletal features in an exemplary manner? I've been looking at Great Auk, but there is hardly anything. Perhaps Huia is better. As for diet, this sentence was already in the article: "They perhaps lived mainly in the woods, and fed on dates, seeds and leaves." But maybe I can find something more, though nothing is known outside Leguat's description. Thanks again! FunkMonk (talk) 20:59, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Still needs some work and expansion, but I've restructured the article a bit, and I think it works much better. I realised much info is left out of recent articles about the bird. I found the only description (and a very useful lithograph) of actual preserved gizzard stones in an 1879 article, even though that's some pretty essential stuff. I couldn't find other translations of the book, though. Maybe there are none. FunkMonk (talk) 06:33, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

The article's coming along beautifully.

  • The lead's now looking a little short; I think it could be expanded.
  • "Lack of women made the refugees construct a boat, in which they sailed on to Mauritius." Interesting, but I'm not sure why this is relevant
  • The description section could probably support a separate subsection giving detailed descriptions of the skeleton.

Contrary to what you said in the peer review, I definitely think that there's potentially enough material for a featured article here. I'd recommend working on the three suggestions above, and then having a few others give it a look over before nominating it at FAC. Casliber and Jimfbleak are both users who may be willing to have a look at this article, and others who may be interested include Sasata (mostly interested in fungi, but has collaborated on other biology articles), Ucucha (written a lot about extinct animals, and has an interest in Madagascar) and Maky (very interested in lemurs, but has written on subfossil lemurs). Back to the good article candidacy, I'm happy to promote this now if you're happy that it's ready, or happy to wait and continue to offer suggestions as you expand it further. The choice is yours. J Milburn (talk) 21:07, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, yeah, there's definitely more info in 19th century sources, especially Alfred Newton's osteological descriptions (perhaps Richard Owen's could be used too), so I'll give them a read and expand accordingly. From what I've read, this article already seems to be the most comprehensive "popular" account of this bird in existence, so it wouldn't hurt if it passed here, I'll continue working on it in any case. FunkMonk (talk) 21:45, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Ah, Richard Owen- probably my town's greatest export! I'll pass the article at this time, but I'm available on my talk page if I can be of any further help. Fantastic work on this article, and I hope I'll see it at FAC at some point in the future. J Milburn (talk) 21:55, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Hah, you can be proud of that! Incidentally, it was apparently Owen's usurpation of a shipment of Dodo bones originally meant for Alfred Newton that made him focus on the Solitaire instead of the Dodo. Not sure if that could be mentioned somewhere in the article, but it's interesting enough for a whole paper having been written about it. And thanks again! FunkMonk (talk) 22:00, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Also, the description section is fairly short as is, so I'll try to work the skeletal stuff into it, and split it off if it gets long enough. FunkMonk (talk) 07:50, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Pre-FAC feedback[edit]

Could go into a little more detail on the taxonomy - i.e. on what basis the relationships have been determined (osteology/genetic etc.) Much like raphinae article, which itself could have alot more detail...Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:44, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, there's a little about skeletal similarities and differences to the Dodo and other pigeons in the description section, do you mean that such should be in the taxonomy section instead? The Newton brothers wrote that the Solitaire was intermediate between the Dodo and regular pigeons in anatomy, that could maybe be interesting to add there as well. FunkMonk (talk) 15:20, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Good point (damn I didn't register that) - that material looks good where it is, maybe just skim on similarities differences in osteology only WRT classification in taxonomy....Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:55, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I did add some taxonomy stuff since last, don't know if it's enough, but the annoying thing is that the sources seem to compare the Solitaire to the Dodo, and then just take the Solitaire's relation to the pigeons as given through its relation with the Dodo. Something like the systematic comparison paragraph[2] I just added to the Dodo article is probably what you had in mind, but I just can't find such in the Solitaire sources... FunkMonk (talk) 21:05, 24 July 2012 (UTC)


Some of the in-line references to book sources to not permit easy verification, which mignt not be consistent with WP:MOS nor FA status. Examples: Snowman (talk) 20:07, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

  • 1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Cheke & Hume 2008, pp. 45–168. (page range is too large) Snowman (talk) 20:05, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Fixed. FunkMonk (talk) 19:55, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • 2. ^ a b c d Fuller 2001. (no page numbers) Snowman (talk) 20:05, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Fixed: Fuller 2001, pp. 203–205. FunkMonk (talk) 14:31, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
  • 3. Hutchinson, G. E. (1954). "MARGINALIA". American Scientist 42 (2): 300–308. doi:10.2307/27826550. (dead link on my system today) Snowman (talk) 20:07, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't matter if the link is dead, there is a full citation, and scientific articles don't even need links in the first place. FunkMonk (talk) 14:32, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, again, if it wasn't brought up during two separate FACs, why should it be a problem now? FunkMonk (talk) 20:35, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
See MOS. Snowman (talk) 20:49, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Can you point to anything specific? FunkMonk (talk) 00:19, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Verification and book citations. Snowman (talk) 23:28, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Where does it state a page range can be "too large"? FunkMonk (talk) 23:52, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
See WP:V. Snowman (talk) 21:30, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Where? Could you quote the relevant passage? FunkMonk (talk) 00:42, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Could someone else please chime in here? Where does the MOS state a page range can be "too large"? FunkMonk (talk) 16:49, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
In any case, I've now fixed the issues out of boredom. Some of the problems were created when the citer style was changed, and duplicate cites with no page numbers were made for some reason. FunkMonk (talk) 19:54, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

New source[edit]

Joylon C. Parish (2012). "The Dodo and the Solitaire: A Natural History" ISBN 9780253000996 (see [3]) Sasata (talk) 22:45, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

I've looked at the preview, and there doesn't seem to be any "new" info, more like a review of stuff that is already present in this article. But if anything useful is found, feel free to add. FunkMonk (talk) 22:47, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Just for the record, since the FAC, a new comprehensive research paper about this bird was published (2013)[4], and I've summarised most of that info here. The article therefore has quite a lot of new text. FunkMonk (talk) 00:51, 13 August 2013 (UTC)


Descriptions of the landscape and trees on the island might help to explain more about the bird's environment. Leguat described the landscape in his book. Snowman (talk) 20:44, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

I think a modern source would be more appropriate for that, since most of the plants still exist. There should be something in Cheke Hume 2008. FunkMonk (talk) 23:33, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Leguat described the island at the time when the bird lived there. He described tall trees providing a continuous overhead canopy, and I presume this is what the vegetation in the colour reconstruction is based on (and Leguat's book is mentioned in the image description on Commons). I have recently uploaded some modern holiday photographs from flickr to Commons showing a rather treeless Rodrigues landscape, which I presume gives some idea of the destruction of the forests. I had the idea that showing a modern picture of the treeless landscape would help the "Relationship with humans" or "Extinction" sections. It would also provide a little more colour (mainly green) to the article, which has mainly black and white photographs. Snowman (talk) 12:16, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, there's not really any room left for images. And it would be a bit too synthesis-like to add info that is not directly related to the bird/not discussed in most sources about the bird. FunkMonk (talk) 12:42, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
OK. Here is an image of the Rodrigues landscape in 2004; File:Rodrigues Island, Mauritius-17May2004 (5).jpg. Snowman (talk) 12:49, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
We now have an image showing the bird and a background, made by the author of this paper: FunkMonk (talk) 17:19, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

Broken citation link[edit]

Error on page: "de Lozoya, A. V. (2003). "An unnoticed painting of a white Dodo". Journal of the History of Collections 15 (2): 201–210. doi:10.1093/jhc/15.2.201. Harv error: There is no link pointing to this citation. The anchor is named CITEREFde_Lozoya2003. edit" and footnote 8: " Lozoya & Valledor 2003. Harv error: link from #CITEREFLozoyaValledor2003 doesn't point to any citation." Gaff ταλκ 23:44, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

  • I guess this means the "refnames" should be synchronised? FunkMonk (talk) 12:44, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
There is a tool at User:Ucucha/HarvErrors to see these types of errors. I found out about it here: Wikipedia:Help_desk#Citation_help. There is still one broken link on this page, and several on the Dodo page. I will fix them when I have a chance. Gaff ταλκ 17:05, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I find this citation style a bit confusing, and prefer the one used on for example hoopoe starling, much simpler to use and maintain. I'd even prefer if the style here and on dodo was changed back to that... FunkMonk (talk) 17:11, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Fixed on this page, will fix dodo later. Funny: I changed the citation style on the gopher article to match this page and the dodo, because I thought it was your preference & I'm still learning how to write good articles... Gaff ταλκ 17:22, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Heheh, I'd say the one used here looks better, but to me, when writing long articles, practicality comes first... The "new" style was added by a user who is now blocked, so it has been a pain to maintain it.... FunkMonk (talk) 17:30, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Morbid curiosity: which editor and why blocked Gaff ταλκ 17:41, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't involved, and don't really know what happened, but I guess this can give some kind of idea:[5] FunkMonk (talk) 17:45, 29 November 2014 (UTC)