Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Professor Gale Spring, scientific photography expert at Melbourne's RMIT University, has suggested the discovery of a new species, the blue-browed fig-parrot of Queensland, Australia, may have been based on fake photograph. Queensland Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr had joined naturalist John Young in announcing the discovery. Young’s Exhibit A was a photograph of a bird which resembled the known red-browed fig-parrot, only with a blue rather than a red forehead. Professor Spring, though, looked at a high-resolution digital image and pointed out differences in the texture of the feathers around the bird's head as opposed to those elsewhere on the body. He suggested the picture was altered, and his suggestion was convincing enough that the Queensland government has distanced itself from the matter. Spring has asked to examine the original photograph, but Young has turned him down without offering a reason. So for now, what seemed like a dramatic find rests in a limbo of uncertainly.