2006-08-24
Dodo Facts
Mauritius Dodo (Raphus cucullatus), more commonly just Dodo, was a large flightless bird of the island of Mauritius that became extinct in the late 1600s - approx. 1674 - 1681.

The Dodo was a meter tall (approximately 3.28 feet) and weighed about 23 kg (50 pounds).

The Dutch called the bird the "walgvogel" ("terrible bird") in reference to its bad taste.

The Dodo had blue-grey plumage, a 23 centimeter (9 inch) blackish hooked bill with a reddish point, very small useless wings, stout yellow legs, and a tuft of curly feathers high on its rear end.

Their breast structure was insufficient to have ever supported flight. These ground-bound birds evolved to take advantage of an island ecology with no predators.

As with many animals evolving in isolation from predators, the Dodo was entirely fearless of people, and this, in combination with its flightlessness, made it easy prey.

In addition, when humans first arrived on Mauritius, they also brought with them other animals that had not existed on the island before, including sheep, dogs, pigs, rats and monkeys, which hunted adult Dodos down, raided their nests for eggs and out-competed them for food.

Recent evidence also suggests that the Dodo might have been nearly wiped out by some natural disaster before humans even arrived on the island, its population reduced so severely that it fell below sustainable levels with the introduction of humans.

Genetic material has been recovered from the Dodo remains have confirmed that it was a close relative of pigeon species that are to be found in Africa and especially South Asia.

Experts believe the dodo's ancestors flew to Mauritius within the last million years.

No one took particular notice of the extinct bird until it was featured in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). With the popularity of the book, the Dodo became a household word: "as dead as a Dodo".
posted by Josh @ 8:16 AM  

Josh and Liz are two American kids who got married in August. Liz has lived in Dubai since 2003, Josh since August of 2006.

Follow along in the culture shock of being recently married and (for Josh, at least) recently transplanted to Dubai.


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