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Mauritian Dodo Bird

Mauritius Dodo Bird - Extinct!
Museums all over the World have skeletons of Dodos but no museum, not even ones in Mauritius have a skeleton from a single Dodo. The British museum situated in Oxford had a complete specimen in their collection up until the 18th century that was actually mummified (including skin etc).
Mauritius Dodo Bird - Extinct!
What the museum did was to cut off its head and feet and burnt the rest in a bonfire in order to save space (yes that right!). If you go to their website today, they list these specimens with a note saying that the rest of the dodo's body has been ‘lost in a fire’ – not quite the whole truth. If you watch the video on this web page you will find 2 reconstructed specimens of the Mauritian and Reunion Dodos. The Reunion Dodo appears to be slightly smaller in size but this is assuming that we are comparing 2 adult dodos and that they represent their respective populations.

The Dodos stood up to 1 metre tall and weighed in at approximately 20Kg and inhabited the Island of Mauritius (Latin name: Raphus Cucullatus, and previously 'Didus Ineptus') for millions of year evolving to a bird that had adapted to live on an island isolated from humans. The bird was bulky, slow (the word 'Dodo' is from the Dutch word 'Dodoor' that means fool) with short wings that prevented it to from flying, while these features resulted from evolutionary success in Mauritius, these became its biggest enemy. Within a 65 year period (1598-1663) from the arrival of the very first settlers to Mauritius, the Dutch, the Dodo had became extinct.


Mauritius Dodo Bird - Extinct! It is widely believed that it was its inability to escape from danger quickly enough that made it an easy victim to humans and predatory animals (such as pigs, rats, and dogs) that were introduced of  to the Island by Europeans. The Dodo laid an egg at a time and would do this on the forest floor these were eating by Pigs, Dogs, and even the Mongooses. Coincidently, there are no snakes in Mauritius because of the Mongoose. The Dutch called the Dodo Walgvogel, which translates to nasty bird, this description may have related to the way it tasted.
From 2nd June to 4th July 2006, a group of British, Dutch,

Mauritius Dodo Bird - Extinct!and local researchers lead a dig at a swamp located south-west of the island in Mare aux Songes in the hope of discovering remains of the Dodo for the purpose of better understanding the Dodo's behaviour in an undisturbed environment. This systematic excavation followed successful prospecting a year earlier were they uncovered about 700+ Dodo bones (of both adult and baby Dodo bird). Who knows that one day scientist may find a complete DNA sequence and future developments of science lead to a producing a live Dodo as theoreticised in the film directed by Steven Spielberg, Jurassic Park. The Dodo has become an archetype for extinct creatures, it featured in the novel 'Alice Adventures in Wonder Land' by Lewis Carroll who was inspired on viewing the skull and claw at the Oxford University Museum, and to this day these bones can be seem there. Manolo Blahnik created a limited numbers of  pairs of women shoes called 'the Dodo' and those would set you back over US$200.
 
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