Rupp builds her skeletons using bones from the most commonly killed birds; worldwide, humans eat 77 million tons of poultry annually, the equivalent in weight to more than 200 Empire State Buildings. The seed of the idea came during the bird flu scare in 2004, when hundreds of millions of poultry birds were killed to prevent the spread of the H5N1 flu strain.
"Everyone thought the pandemic was going to kill us all," said Rupp, "but it seemed like a huge waste of life to me, even if those chickens were going to die for meat eventually. Chickens might not be like the romanticized version of extinct birds we'd see in a museum, but they're still birds."
The dodo, a three-foot-tall flightless bird with a great big beak, has become a symbol of extinction. The fearless bird lived on the island of Mauritius until humans came along in the 1600s with their tree-felling tendencies and egg-eating pets and livestock.