Unfortunately, due to aggressive human population, dodo birds became extinct in late 17th century. Your email address will not be published. Frisbii / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0. Learn more about these amazing creatures, their history, habitat, and unique characteristics. On average, dodo birds stood 3 feet tall and weighted about 40 lb. On average, dodo birds stood 3 … RSS Feed, Dodo Bird of Mauritius: From Discovery to Extinction. Sir Thomas Herbert / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain, There was only a short interval between the "official" naming of the dodo bird and its disappearance—but an awful lot of confusion was generated during those 64 years. Ironically, considering how indiscriminately they were clubbed to death by Dutch settlers, dodo birds weren't all that tasty. There are (barely) enough preserved remains of the dodo bird to recover some of its soft tissues—and thus fragments of dodo DNA—and the dodo shares enough of its genome with modern relatives such as the Nicobar pigeon to make surrogate parenting a possibility. The closest relatives to the dodo bird are pigeons and doves, even though dodo birds were much larger in size. Until Humans, the Dodo Bird Had No Predators, The Dodo Bird Laid Only One Egg at a Time, The Dodo Bird Didn't 'Taste Like Chicken', The Closest Relative Is the Nicobar Pigeon, The Dodo Was Once Called the 'Wallowbird', The Dodo Bird Is Mentioned in 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', 10 Recently Extinct Shrews, Bats and Rodents, 10 Facts About Giant Elephant Birds That Lived on Madagascar, 10 Recently Extinct Reptiles You Should Know About, De-Extinction: The Resurrection of Extinct Animals, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Book Review. Dining options being fairly limited in the 17th century, though, the sailors who landed on Mauritius did the best with what they had, eating as much of the clubbed dodo carcasses as they could stomach and then preserving the leftovers with salt. When they weren't busy hunting, clubbing, and roasting dodo birds, the Dutch and Portuguese settlers of Mauritius did manage to ship a few living specimens back to Europe. Roelant Savery / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain. The closest living relative of the dodo is the Nicobar pigeon. In fact, dodo birds were so innately trusting that they would actually waddle up to armed Dutch settlers—unaware that these strange creatures intended to kill and eat them—and they made irresistible lunches for these settlers' imported cats, dogs, and monkeys.
It takes a lot of energy to maintain powered flight, which is why nature favors this adaptation only when it's absolutely necessary.
However, most of these unfortunate dodos didn't survive the months-long journey, and today these once-populous birds are represented by only a handful of remains: a dried head and a single foot in the Oxford Museum of Natural History and fragments of skull and leg bones at the University of Copenhagen Zoological Museum and the National Museum of Prague. Moree P., 1998. Even still, the dodo is a long shot for successful de-extinction; the woolly mammoth and the gastric-brooding frog (to name just two) are much more likely candidates. Dodo, (Raphus cucullatus), extinct flightless bird of Mauritius (an island of the Indian Ocean), one of the three species that constituted the family Raphidae, usually placed with pigeons in the order Columbiformes but sometimes separated as an order (Raphiformes). Logic Media | Louisville Web Design. cuatrok77 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0. After the dodo bird's pigeon ancestors landed on their island paradise, they gradually lost their ability to fly, at the same time evolving to turkey-like sizes. Evolution is a conservative process: A given animal will produce only as many young as is strictly necessary to propagate the species. As sudden and swift as the dodo's demise was, though, this unfortunate bird holds important lessons for managing endangered animals that are just barely avoiding extinction today and about the fragility of island ecosystems with their endemic species that have adapted to their unique environment. Shortly after its discovery, a Dutch captain named the dodo the walghvogel ("wallowbird"), and some Portuguese sailors referred to it as a penguin (which may have been a mangling of pinion, meaning "small wing"). De-extinction is a scientific program by which we may be able to reintroduce extinct species into the wild. Less than 65 years later, the dodo was completely extinct; the last confirmed sighting of this hapless bird was in 1662. Hume, J.P., 2006.
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