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″
From the The Mauritius Post Ltd: An Official First Day Cover is an envelope which the post office puts on sale on the first day of an issue. The stamp or stamps are cancelled with a special cachet. And the latest First Day Cover (FDC) is The Dodo above.
This set of postage stamps/ souvenir sheet issued by the Mauritius Post Ltd portrays different representations of the Dodo through drawings and paintings of various artists at different times.
Rs5 Journal of the Gelderland, 1601
An important contribution to the early eye-witness accounts of the Dodo are the drawings found in the Journal of Admiral Wolfert Harmenszoon, who commanded the second Dutch fleet of five ships to visit Mauritius in 1601. The flagship of this expedition was the Gelderland which was one of the original ships to call into Mauritius with Vice-Admiral Warwyck in 1598. The Gelderland Journal is particularly valuable as it includes four drawings of living Dodos, and one drawing of a dead one.
Rs10 Adrian Van de Venne, 1626
This pen drawing by Adrian Van de Venne of a rather fat looking Dodo was drawn around 1626, and it can be found in the Library at the University of Utrecht, Holland. It is probable that this image was modelled from a crudely stuffed bird, or even copied from some other artist, which led to exaggerations of one painter to another.
Rs15 Harrison, 1798
This painting appeared in a publication by Harrison, Cluse and Co., of No. 78, Fleet Street, London, in 1798. It seems to have been copied from one of the best known Savery pictures which was presented to the Natural History Museum, London in 1759.
Rs25 J.W. Frohawk, 1905
This chromolithograph by J.W. Frohawk is taken from Lord Walter Rothschild’s Extinct Birds which was published in 1907. The same artist painted a number of pictures for the same publication. Lord Walter Rothschild came from a family of rich bankers but his consuming interest was in ornithology and extinct birds in particular.
Rs25 Souvenir Sheet by Julian Pender Hume
Julian Pender Hume is a Palaeontologist by profession which enables him to bring accuracy to his artistic impressions of extinct animals. His painting showing a reconstruction of endemic fauna of Mauritius has been reproduced on the Souvenir Sheet.
First Day Cover Illustration
The illustration on the First Day Cover is a reproduction of the Dodo’s head from a bronze statue situated at Ile aux Aigrettes.
Ok, now I’m desperate. Does any one have an idea of how can I get those stamps and the FDC envelope? Do I have any readers in Mauritius? Any suggestions? *Sigh*
Update: I think I’ve discovered a way to buy them on the on-line shop of the Philatelic Products. I just need to discover how much will cost me the international transfer from bank in Brazil to Mauritius. *Ouch*
Wally Plush Toys is a company from Mauritius which makes marvellous handmade plus toys. There is no doubt that my favourite toys on the site are those adorable Plush Dodos. Aren’t they great? I’m in love for them. Now I just need to discover what I have to do, to they come visit me one day.
The Way of the Dodo is a 2003 log from PBS‘ program “The Voyage of the Odyssey” written by environmental educator Sara Earhart. The page contains some images, the audio and the log transcript. It starts with:
The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) is arguably the most common icon associated with the island nation of Mauritius. Although it was only about 300 years ago that the dodo became extinct, very little is known about this bird. Ironically, even though the dodo lived into the time of written history, more is known about the natural history and behaviour of some dinosaurs than is known about the dodo. Its appearance, life history, and the history of its extinction all remain a mystery. The written reports and illustrations of sailors and ship’s naturalists who visited Mauritius in the 17th century are the basis of all known information. Primary sources, such as these, should not be accepted without question as they are subject to inconsistencies, elaborations, and artistic interpretation-thus the difficulty in creating a true picture of this unique relative of the pigeon.
Ok, nothing new until now. The log goes with the description of their history, habitat, the Dutch, their description and there it goes. It’s interesting, but we all know this story – if you don’t know visit the archives of this blog! To conclude the log:
Over a period of 40-50 years, human influences exerted more and more pressure on the dodo population. The last known written encounter with a dodo was recorded in 1662 by Volquard Iverson, a Dutch sailor stranded on Mauritius. He and his fellow castaways searched the island high and low for food and only encountered a small group of dodos on a coastal islet just off shore. Unfortunately, this was also the last known record of the dodo.
The dodo is the most famous animal extinction in human history. With its death came the realization that humans have the ability to extinguish an entire species. Ironically, once the dodo was declared “extinct” there was a surge in dodo research lasting more than 150 years. Today the dodo lives on in Mauritius only as a national symbol and as an image on textiles, woodcarvings, and souvenirs in local markets and shops. However, it is always present in one’s imagination to remind us that resources are not infinite and that humans must protect the world’s species, lest they too go “the way of the dodo.”
Dodo Skeleton Found on Island, May Yield Extinct Bird’s DNA by Kate Ravilious for National Geographic News:
Adventurers exploring a cave on an island in the Indian Ocean have discovered the most complete and well-preserved dodo skeleton ever found, scientists reported yesterday.
Researchers say the find would likely yield the first useful samples of the extinct, flightless bird’s DNA.
If you follow this blog, you know I already linked to the same news on the posts Bones Could Yield Dodo DNA and Flightless Fred has scientists in raptures. However, that National Geographic article is good, as usual, and there more additional information on it.
Until now most of the information about dodos has come from scattered bone fragments. Only one other full skeleton was ever unearthed—in the 1860s—but it has been of limited scientific value, because the person who discovered it never revealed where it was found.
“We need to know about the location to understand the ecology of the dodo,” said Kenneth Rijsdijk, a scientist with Geological Survey of the Netherlands, who plans to study the environment in which the newfound bird was discovered.
The site of the new dodo skeleton and the layout of its bones has been precisely recorded, making the find already very useful to scientists, he added.
“We can take soil samples and discover how and why the animal got there,” Rijskijk said.
What’s more, the location of the new skeleton makes it much more likely to yield DNA, said Beth Shapiro, a geneticist from Oxford University who studies dodo remains. […]
The cave site of the new skeleton is likely to provide the best hope of a decent DNA sample because the bones will not have been exposed to sunlight and the temperature was fairly constant, she added.
“We are really excited about the new find and hope it might tell us much more about the behavior and appearance of dodos,” Shapiro said.
PS.: Photograph from Reuters, inset illustration from Getty Images.
Expatica, 11 May 2007: Dodo has become an icon. But you already knew that, don’t you?
The dodo has become an international icon for species that have died out because of human activity.
Fifty dodo experts met in Leiden on Friday to share their still scarce information on the mysterious animal. Dutch scientists found leg and toe bones from a dodo, part of a hip bone, vertebrae and a beak in 2005.
“The fascination for the dodo stems from that fact that so few people saw the bird,” says palaeontologist Anwar Janoo, the only Mauritian at the conference.
Update: the article was removed.
Via openPR, from press release of Sarlay & Jurkowitsch VIP Consulting: Crystallized Dodo – The new piece of Art for Mauritius – Intercontinental Innovation Project.
Silke Jurkowitsch and Alexander Sarlay dedicate their latest innovation project to the national symbol of Mauritius. They realize a special and extraordinary creation of the Dodo, which was driven to extinction in the late 1680s. For this exclusive piece of art Silke Jurkowitsch and Alexander Sarlay use more than 3.000 finest Austrian Crystals each set by hand in a sophisticated way. To get never seen effects they use special developed materials and technologies. The crystallized Dodo fascinates through the combination of brilliance, perfection and destiny of this bird.
Silke Jurkowitsch and Alexander Sarlay also think of distribution options for a limited, exclusive Dodo collection in Mauritius.
They should donate part of the money to animal preservation groups.