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A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B examined the eye size of birds and its relationship to their biology and behavior, potentially adding new insight to conservation efforts. The study, conducted by Ian J. Ausprey, a recent doctoral graduate of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Ordway Lab of Ecosystem Conservation, relied on critical data collected by UChicago doctoral student Stanley Ritland for his dissertation research. From the press release:

“[Stanley] spent his time traveling around museums, extracting eyes out of specimens preserved in alcohol and then measuring them,” Ausprey said. “He did it for several thousand species of birds, as well as mammals and reptiles.”

Ritland left academia upon graduating, however, and never published his data in a scientific journal. Researchers have used small portions of the massive dataset, initially relegated to the stacks of the University of Chicago library, to answer small-scale questions, but comprehensive analyses have so far been lacking.

Read the press release from the Florida Museum of Natural History here.

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