Car-crash victim was 'best avian anatomist'
From the songs of birds to the structure of their DNA and anatomy, Bradley C. Livezey knew nearly everything about them. He never gave up researching unsolved mysteries of the world's 20,000 or so avian species.
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History's curator of birds died Tuesday morning in an automobile crash in Pine, where he lived. He was 56.
"He was arguably the best avian anatomist in the world. He has published more papers on the subject than anybody else and made significant contributions to understanding of the relationships of all species of birds," said Joel Cracraft, curator of ornithology at New York City's American Museum of Natural History. He knew Livezey for 25 years.
Livezey died in a two-car crash on Route 910, authorities said. An autopsy revealed he died from injuries to the head and trunk, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said. Northern Regional Police are investigating.
Livezey's death is a loss to friends and his profession. It also poses a challenge to the Carnegie, which will need up to a year to find a replacement, said Stephen P. Rogers, collection manager.
"You cannot find world-class ornithologists in a matter of weeks," Rogers said.
Tributes to Livezey came from as far away as Europe, from people who never met him.
"Brad was a leading ornithologist," Darren Naish, a science writer and paleozoologist affiliated with the University of Portsmouth in England, wrote on his zoology blog. "His papers are extraordinary for the amount of data and analysis he packed into each of his studies."
A Carnegie curator since 1993, Livezey oversaw a collection of nearly 195,000 specimens of birds, the country's ninth largest.
Livezey's research included studies of the evolution of flightless birds, ecology and behavior of steamer ducks, and genetic analysis of birds and avian disorders.
Livezey is survived by a brother, Kent Livezey of Puyallup, Wash., and a sister, Alyson Hartmann of Flossmoor, Ill. He also leaves behind his dog, Bailey, Rogers said.
Growing up in Chicago, Livezey and his brother, now a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and an expert on the spotted owl, developed a passion for wildlife, hitchhiking and camping, Rogers said. They took a trip to Ecuador two years ago to look at birds and other wildlife, he said.
He was a graduate of Oregon State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Kansas.
"Few people knew the evolutionary literature of birds as well as Brad," Cracraft said. "Much of his work is a foundation for paleontology."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PixController of Murrysville honored by Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania for camera trained on Pittsburgh eagle nest
- Rossi: Pirates must land Lester
- Fallowfield Township increases road crew
- Beloved teacher at 3 Western Pa. schools hears from students across nation
- Layoffs possible at 5 state system schools, including Edinboro, Clarion
- After years of lobbying, Big Ben has Steelers running the no-huddle
- Fire causes Blairsville bar to collapse, flames spread to neighboring building
- Steelers hold high hopes for pass defense
- Pirates notebook: Trade rumors for Red Sox pitcher Lester still swirling
- Antiques appraiser shares expertise with Mon Valley crowd
- Steelers notebook: Brown calls Sanders’ comments about Roethlisberger ‘terrible’