This design was originally based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species but I noticed how many awesome creatures they missed out. So I added them in. I plan on screen printing these in the New Year and selling them via my website, so check back if you’re interested. Thanks!
According to my trusty 1878 Chambers’s Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge, “The birds were easily killed, being wholly unable to fly, and running slowly. Their speedy extinction after the islands began to be visited and settled, is thus easily accounted for.”
Maybe it was the shoes?
Acrylic on text & map of Mauritius, 4×5″
In line with a question during an earlier discussion about how might have the dodo really appeared, the famed artist and Hollywood special effects man Bill Munn [...] contacted me.
Munns wrote: “I have done scientific reconstructions of the Dodo (of how they may have looked) with all coloration based on actual descriptions and the head sculpted from a skull cast provided by the Harvard Museum of Natural History.”
The following reconstruction is what Bill Munns created of the dodo, and may be the closest thing we have to how a living dodo looked in the wild.
The following reconstruction is actually the picture you saw above. For a bit more about information about Munns visit his site.
Espèces emblématiques disparues par la faute de l’homme (Emblematic species extinct because of men): French article about Le Dodo (The Dodo).
There are no more dodos or puppet dodo birds at Extinct Animal Puppets. It costed $29.00, but Sadly, the Dodo puppet is now extinct (again!) Discontinued by the manufacturer as of October 2004. Sigh!
This hand puppet is 17 inches tall and has a movable beak. Does it look like Pickwick to you? More complete than earlier cloned versions, this one has TWO wings and a full complement of very soft, feather-like plush. Plock! Plock!
BTW, I’m searching for plush dodos, if anyone knows where I can buy one please let me know. Thanks!
BBC h2g2 article – The Dodo – an Extinct Bird:
In the age of exploration man discovered wonderful creatures on every beach on which he landed. One of the creatures they found was the Dodo. We never found out what the bird was good for, as in our attempts to exploit them we managed to kill them all. This is a sad story; let’s not let it happen again.
The bird was known by the common name ‘Dodo’, plural either ‘Dodos’ or ‘Dodoes’, alternative name ‘Dronte’. Perhaps the name is derived from:
* Dod-aarsen: stupid ass
* Dodors: from dot-ors, meaning tuft of feathers-tail
* Dodars: silly birds
* Dodoor: sluggard
Also used were:
* Walgvogel or Walghvogel: nauseating bird (these are all Dutch- and German-based names)
* Doudo or Doudou: foolish and simple, simpleton (as the Portuguese and Spanish visitors called them) [...]
How to Prepare a Dodo for Dinner
Trying to find the perfect recipe we killed the last bird.
1. Pluck the feathers.
2. Put it in a water-filled pan and let it boil for a day – or two for older birds.
3. Then use a sharp knife to get some of the meat from the bones.
4. Serve with some fruits (mango) to make it taste like something. Keep a few toothpicks to clean your teeth after every bite.
5. Instead of only eating the flesh, you can also make a nice soup with the boiling water.
6. Give the remainder (probably most of the animal) to the dogs.
What else to serve these hungry, hardworking sailors?
If not eaten, dodos were just happy running or staggering around their island4. With their specialised long, crooked, and hooked beak, they ate fruits, seeds or nuts. Dodos seemed to eat stones and rocks as well, and perhaps some fruits de mer5. They did not have any natural enemies. The nests in which they laid their eggs were just clearings on the ground that were covered with grass. The female dodo laid a single, big egg hidden deep in the forest. She would use her large beak to defend herself and her chick.
Dodo dinner? Well, the records show dodos didn’t taste like chicken, so the dodo dinner looks more a joke that a real recipe (the description too). Anyway, there are more about dodos in the article.
An old news, from when they discovered that the Extinct Dodo Related to Pigeons, DNA Shows:
The dodo, poster bird for species extinction, has a pitiful reputation as a stupendously overweight idiot of a bird that couldn’t even fly. But scientific evidence is slowly correcting that impression. Its new rep: an evolutionary success, perfectly adapted to its living conditions, thin and relatively fast, but still an early victim to the spread of man. [...]
The adaptations the dodo made for island living—flightlessness and gigantism—have made understanding its evolutionary history and classifying it based on body characteristics difficult. Over the years, the dodo has been grouped with the carnivorous raptors; ratites, which include emus and ostriches; parrots; and shorebirds. Since the mid-1800s, the dodo has been classified as part of the family that includes pigeons and doves. But there has been no hard proof.
Molecular analysis of DNA retrieved from a dodo specimen at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, England, confirms that the bird belongs firmly in the middle of the pigeon tree in evolutionary terms, reports a study published in the March 1 issue of the journal Science. Its closest living relative is the Nicobar pigeon, which lives in the Nicobar Islands and Southeast Asia, and it is part of a group of large island-dwelling birds that spend a great deal of time on the ground. Other modern representatives include the crowned pigeons of New Guinea and the tooth-billed pigeon of Samoa. [..]
“Island taxa such as the dodo and solitaire often represent extreme examples of evolution—and if we want to examine how we, or the life around us, evolved then such animals are very educational,” said Alan Cooper, a zoologist at the University of Oxford and one of the co-authors of the study. “By examining island birds we can investigate how evolution works—because extreme examples are often the best views of how something works.”
Earlier scientists had speculated that the dodo, and its closest relative, the also-extinct solitaire, descended from migratory African pigeons that got lost and colonized the islands. The genetic evidence clearly shows that the dodo and solitaire came from southeast Asia, where all their close relatives remain.
The Oxford scientists can’t tell when the dodo arrived on Mauritius, or when it became flightless. Geological evidence indicates that the island was created as a result of volcanic activity and emerged from the water about 8 million years ago. Whether the birds flew, swam or hitched a ride on floating debris like trees or clumps of seaweed, remains unknown. The DNA evidence does indicate that the dodo and the solitaire separated from a common ancestor about 25.6 million years ago. The common ancestor separated from other Southeast Asian birds around 42.6 million years ago.
It’s an excellent, but a bit long article to post. Check it all here.
Pike, Réunion dodo, from the Post Extinction series, by Bethany Fancher.
Update: the page with the original image was removed.
The Dodo at the American Museum of Natural History. I bet you saw that page before, many times (if you ever made a search for dodos). I saw it, many times before, and that’s a good reason for post it.
Something there sounds funny for me: the dodos are in the same area as the dinosaurs. Hum… giant dodos! Ok, silliness apart, here is part of the short text about dodos there:
The Dodo’s stubby wings and heavy, ungainly body tell us that the bird was flightless. Moreover, its breastbone is too small to support the huge pectoral muscles a bird this size would need to fly. Yet scientists believe that the Dodo evolved from a bird capable of flight into a flightless one. When an ancestor of the Dodo landed on Mauritius, it found a habitat with plenty of food and no predators. It therefore did not need to fly, and, as flying takes a great deal of energy, it was more efficient for the bird to remain on the ground. Eventually, the flightless Dodo evolved.