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Jean-Christophe Balouet passed away (1 Viewer)

Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
I just received the following message from Antoine Liuchart.

Dear Colleagues,

It is with sadness that I announce you the death of Jean-Christophe Balouet, earlier this week, of a stroke.

Jean-Christophe was well-known in the world of paleontology, especially -but not only- bird paleontology. Among his more prominent contributions to the field, was his numerous and long sessions of extremely productive fieldwork on New-Caledonia, from the end of the 1970s as he was a student, to the beginning of the 1990s. He discovered new sites, excavated them along with known sites, sometimes at his own risk as he almost died from Histoplasma capsulatum infection transmitted by bat guano. The great collection of bird subfossils comprised numerous new, extinct taxa, that he could describe in part, with the collaboration of the late Storrs L. Olson in 1989. And above all, the iconic Sylviornis neocaledoniae, described earlier, benefited from all the information contained in the abundant fossils from Pindai, Gilles, Kanumera and other sites he excavated. Jean-Christophe was passionate, he was a whole person, with a dedication to this passion of bird fossils that is rarely encountered. Despite all this, he unfortunately didn't access a position as a paleontologist, although he would have deserved it more than anyone. This was a deep regret for him, and a shame for the community and the discipline. Nevertheless, he was still enthusiastic like a child, as we planned a field mission to New Caledonia almost two years ago, supposed to take place last year, delayed due to covid, the perspective to see again the field after 30 years or so, all the people he knew there, the local people whom he deeply respected as well as their customs. Unfortunately, he did not have the opportunity to see all this again before leaving us. Something will be transmitted, however, to Ségolène Riamon who is doing her thesis on Sylviornis, and Jean-Christophe was keen on transmitting his knowledge, even outside an academic situation. He also had a rich career outside paleontology, in fields to which he was similarly dedicated. For my interest in Sylviornis, I had tried years ago to recontact him, and finally succeded three years ago. I am grateful I could meet Jean-Christophe, even if it was too short.

We owe him a lot, especially those of us interested in island birds. I also would like to propose an obituary in a journal of paleontology or ornithology (to be decided), with the help of those of you who knew him or had field experience with him etc., and with the help of his family, to whom we send our condolences.

Please send me elements of contributions if you wish.

Best regards,


Fred Ruhe


Well-known member
Sad news. His joint paper with Storrs Olson is the most important work on the extinct avifauna of New Caledonia.

Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Some papers by Jean-Christophe Balouet:

Jean Christophe Balouet, 1981
Zeltornis ginsburgi n.g. n.sp. (Ardeidae: Aves), Héron Géant du Miocène Inférieur du Djebel Zelten (Libye)
Comptes Rendus de l’Academie des Sciences Paris series 2, 293: 235-239

Jean Christophe Balouet, 1984
Les Étranges Fossiles de Nouvelle-Calédonie
La Recherche 15: 390-392

Jean Christophe Balouet, 1987
Les Caracteres Aviens Generaux: Distribution and Interpretation
Documents des Laboratoires de Géologie, Lyon 99: 49-55

Jean Christophe Balouet, 1991
The Fossil Vertebrate Record of New Caledonia
In: Vertebrate Palaeontology of Australasia
Ed:: Vickers-Rich, T.M. Monaghan. R.R. Baird & T.H. Rich
Pioneer Design Studio and Monash University Publications Comittee, Lilydale: 1383-1409

Jean Christophe Balouet & Storrs Lovejoy Olson, 1987
A New Extinct Species of Giant Pigeon (Columbidae: Ducula) from Archaeological Deposits on Wallis (Uvea) Island, South Pacific
Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 100: 769-775

Jean Christophe Balouet & Storrs Lovejoy Olson, 1989
Fossil Birds from Late Quaternary Deposits in New Caledonia
Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology • Number 469: 1-38
Smithsonian Institution Press, City of Washington
(this is the paper Melanie mentioned)

Cécile Mourer-Chauviré, Jean-Christophe Balouet, Yves Jehenne & Émile Heintz, 1985
Un Nouvelle Espèce de Grue, Grus afghana (Aves, Gruiformes) du Miocène Supérieur de Molayan, Afghanistan
Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Section C: Sciences de la Terre: Paléontologie, Géologie, Minéralogie. [Série 4] 7: 179-187

Storrs Lovejoy Olson, Jean Christophe Balouet & C. T. Fisher, 1987
The Owlet-Nightjar of New Caledonia, Aegotheles savesi, with Comments on the Systematics of the Aegothelidae
De Giervalk / Le Gerfaut 77: 341-352

Patricia Vickers Rich, G. F. Van Tets & Jean Christophe Balouet, 1985
The Birds of Western Australia
XVIII Congress Internationalis Ornithologici 18: 200-226


Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Taxa described by Jean-Christophe Balouet:

Sylviornithidae Mourer-Chauviré et Balouet, 2005

Zeltornis Balouet, 1981

Accipiter efficax Balouet et Olson, 1989
Accipiter quartus Balouet et Olson, 1989
Caloenas canacorum Balouet et Olson, 1989
Ducula david Balouet et Olson, 1987
Gallicolumba longitarsus Balouet et Olson, 1989
Grus afghana Mourer-Chauviré, Balouet, Jehenne et Heintz, 1985
Megapodius molistructor Balouet et Olson, 1989
Porphyrio kukwiedei Balouet et Olson, 1989
Rhynochetos orarius Balouet et Olson, 1989
Tyto? letocarti Balouet et Olson, 1989
Zeltornis ginsburgi Balouet, 1981


Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Antoine Louchart just send out another message:

Dear Colleagues,

(Sorry for the collective message again, if some of you don't feel too much concerned).

We are thinking of a Special volume in honour of J.C. Balouet, in Geobios, with the agreement in principle of the Editor in chief.

We would like to know how many of you would be ready, and interested in submitting a manuscript in this case.

Please tell me if you are interested, so that we can have an idea ; it is just a step of survey ; the thematics of such a volume would be on recently extinct insular birds in general, and/or flightless birds including also some Galloanserae, and possibly more (depending on the number of answers received).

Thank you in advance,

Best regards,



Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Again a message from Antoine Loucart:

Dear all,

One last mail to all recipients (promised!), before I restrain this correspondence to the potential contributors, who declared their interest in this volume.

Contributions are already 7, thanks for this, and we could reach 10 or 12 (not more) ; at least 9 or 10 would be great; so I am waiting for a few additional answers.

I take the opportunity here to precise that it will be a thematic volume of the regular Geobios series (not a "special volume"), hence indexed by WoS, which also means that there will be no charges for authors.

Concerning the deadline for submission, for those of you who need some time to complete a manuscript : it is not yet decided, but for the volume to be finally published by the end of 2022, the editor in chief indicated a possibility of deadline for MS submission by the end of September (2021), so this leaves almost 6 months. This is not definitive, but but it is an editorial indication. We will give more details as they are decided, to the potential contributors.

Thanks again to all,

Best regards,

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