A genetic study of the US’s only native parrot appears to confirm its extinction was down to humans alone.
Scientists sequenced the genome of a stuffed Carolina parakeet held in a private collection.
The colourful bird’s DNA showed none of the signs of inbreeding characteristic of animals that have been in decline for many years.
Instead, its genetic sequence suggests populations were buoyant until the expansion of European settlers.
The parrots then disappeared abruptly, with the last captive specimen dying in Cincinnati Zoo on 21 February 1918. The bird was once found from New England in the east to Colorado in the west.
The bird had green plumage with a yellow head, and measured about 13ins (33cm) long. They lived in old-growth forests along rivers and in swamps.