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Strasbourg Christmas market in 2014
Christmas market in Strasbourg

On this day

December 17

Demonstrators in the Darwin rebellion
Demonstrators in the Darwin rebellion

Roger L'Estrange (b. 1616)  · Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma (d. 1847) · Daniel Inouye (d. 2012)

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Cave painting of bull
Cave painting of bull

Today's Featured Article

A. tricolor.jpg

The Cuban macaw (Ara tricolor), a species of parrot, became extinct in the late 19th century. Native to the main island of Cuba and the nearby Isla de la Juventud, this macaw had some similarities to the scarlet macaw. No modern skeletons are known, but a few subfossil remains have been found on Cuba. At about 45–50 centimetres (18–20 in) long, it was one of the smallest macaws. It had a red, orange, yellow, and white head, and a red, orange, green, brown, and blue body. It was reported to nest in hollow trees, live in pairs or families, and feed on seeds and fruits. It was mainly seen in the vast Zapata Swamp, where it inhabited open terrain with scattered trees. The Cuban macaw was traded and hunted by Amerindians, and by Europeans after their arrival in the 15th century. The birds were brought to Europe as cagebirds, and 19 museum skins exist today. The species had become rare by the mid-19th century due to hunting, trade, and habitat destruction. (Full article...)

Photo of the Day

Lady Dorothy Browne and Sir Thomas Browne

Lady Dorothy Browne and Sir Thomas Browne is an oil-on-panel painting attributed to English painter Joan Carlile and probably completed between 1641 and 1650. It depicts Thomas Browne, the son of a merchant from Cheshire, who eventually became a physician and author in Norwich; and his wife Dorothy Browne (née Mileham), who came from a land-owning family in Norfolk. The two Brownes are portrayed in contrasting styles, with Lady Dorothy looking directly at the viewer with a pleasant expression while Sir Thomas appears to be staring into the distance. The painting is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Painting: Joan Carlile