Fiche Thématique du Dodo

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Dodo by Muséum d'histoire naturelle, Genève

I have no idea how or when did I found this, but probably a long long time ago a saved a link the following PDF: Fiches Thématiques De la Bibliothèque du MHNG nº2 – Le Dodo. The MHNG in question is the Muséum d’histoire naturelle de la Ville de Genève. I tried to find a page that links to that PDF without any luck, so I choose share it directly.

The thematic card is all in French, but if you already know the dodos history there are not many news on it. It tells the sad story of our so much loved bird, the researches all over the years, more ornithology info about it, suggestion of books, and 3 images. One is the cute dodo above, and the other two are:  Facsimile of Savery’s figure of the Dodo in his picture of the Fall of Adam in the Royal Gallery, Berlin and a dodo image from The dodo and its kindred by A.G.Melville (1848).

Savery’s Dodo in a Landscape

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Artefact of the month – July from the Zoological Society of London:

Savery’s Dodo in a Landscape

Savery’s Dodo in a Landscape with birds and animals by Roelandt Savery, circa 1629

Dodo in a Landscape with birds and animals by Roelandt Savery

It is thought Savery actually saw the dodo alive, the bird having been brought from its native habitat Mauritius to Prince Maurice of Nassau’s menagerie before it became extinct in the 1690s.

This is one of the few authentic pictures of the bird in life and very unusually Savery has painted a rear view of the bird in this painting.

Several of Savery’s other paintings also include the dodo in more conventional positions from which most later paintings of the dodo are derived. Only a few paintings of the dodo from life are known to exist. A key to the identification of the 21 other birds in the painting, prepared by Peter Olney, is available in the ZSL Library.

The ZSL painting is thought to date from c1629 and exemplifies the range of exotic birds in captivity in Europe in the early-17th century, as at least 18 different species have been identified.

The Dodo Lives – Ad

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

The Dodo Lives

The Dodo Lives from Toronto Life, November 1975. (via Torontoist)

Dodo Matchbox

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Dodo Matchbox

Dodo Matchbox, New Light Match Manufacturing Ltd., from Virtual Matchbox Labels Museum

More Dodo Expeditie Info

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Dodo's en reuzenschildpadden in de Mare aux Songes

It seems that the Dodo Expedition had a happy end: Discovery of lower body of Dodo, complete skeleton within reach.

Besides Dodo bones the research team recovered bones of the extinct giant tortoise (Cylindraspis) and bones of jet unidentified reptile and bird species. Also they encountered abundant seed material of endemic trees including those of the Tambalacoque (Dodo tree). A few specimens of this nearly extinct tree currently occur in the central part of Mauritius. It is therefore a great surprise that these seeds occur nearby the sea at Mare aux Songes. Mauritian and European scientists investigate how it is possible that so many bones and seeds have been so well conserved in the soil after several thousands of years and why the locality is so extremely rich in bone material.

Julian Hume found a dodo bone
The purpose of the current expedition is to reconstruct the world of the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) before Western man set foot on the island of Mauritius and wiped out the species. The expedition will seek to clarify the Dodos ecotope and explain why it became extinct. The excavation in Mare aux Songes, in the south eastern tip of Mauritius will continue to the 3rd of July 2006.

The immediate reason for this expedition was the rare find on 28 October 2005 of a completely undisturbed layer of botanic remains and bones, including Dodo fossils, on the island of Mauritius. This material is up to 3000 years old. There have been previous 20th-century finds of Dodo bones on Mauritius, but no-one previously sought to study the geology or ecology of these sites. This type of research is needed to reconstruct the landscape, fauna and flora and establish whether these animals were wiped out all at once by a natural disaster. The Mascarene Islands, of which Mauritius is one, are unique in that they probably have the only Dodo-fossil sites in the world.

The expedition ended, but there are some interesting material about dodos in the site. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the English version of that part of the site and all the links goes to pages in Dutch. Doel van de expeditie talks (I think) about the expedition, the first dodo bone find in many time, in 2005, that inspired this new expedition and traces what could have been the dodo habitat.

Julian Hume dodo habitat
Reconstruction of the dodo habitat at the time of the early Dutch colonisation of Mauritius, in the 17th century, by Julian Hume, 2005

From this Naturalis page go to explore other sessions about the expedition: who participated, site explored – Mare aux Songes, the techniques used at the lad to study the bones and an informative about the dodo.

At the informative page, the session Dodo fact sheet has more information about dodos, their habitat, dodos at museums, a brief history of dodos after the Netherlands colonization, dodo DNA and a dodo skeleton compared with a Roelant Savery painting:

Savery painting - dodo skeleton

And finally the Stuur uw dodo-foto’s in contains pictures of dodo’s skeletons from other museums: American Museum of Natural History of New York and The Natural History Museum of London.

Dodo skeleton at the Naturalis Museum

Saturday, July 1st, 2006

Dodo skeleton at the Naturalis Museum

A replica of a Dodo skeleton at the Naturalis Museum in Leiden, the Netherlands, Friday, Dec, 23, 2005. Last October 28, a Dutch-Mauritian research team discovered Dodo remains on the southeastern part of Mauritius, the material’s age is estimated at 2000to 3000 years.

Bones will reveal life of dodo

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Mauritius dodo model

After the news by journalists, the news by specialists, not so much different from the others, from the Natural History Museum: Bones will reveal life of dodo:

The new finds will help to piece together the environment the dodo lived in and will help us understand more about how it become extinct.

Scientists hope to find the first complete articulated skeleton of an individual dodo. This will help reveal how the dodo moved around, whether they walked with a waddle or hopped with a skip.

Terracota dodo

That’s probably not so big news to make you go to the site, so here it is more arguments: images of the dodo in their Picture Library, Dodo model at the birds gallery, and, as they suggest “Take a Dodo architectural tour. The last one was my favourite part. It doesn’t have many texts, however there are two short and amusing videos: The Dodo’s changing image, with an analysis of “Dodo expert Julian Hume” about the famous painting by Roelandt Savery, and The Dodo – The merging of myth and reality a great interview with Julian Hume made in 2003.

Dodo by Roelandt Savery

Dodos at AMNH

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Dodo Model Dodo Squeleton

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.

Dodo Expeditie Weblog

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Dodo Expeditie Weblog

Naturalis, the site of the National Museum of Natural History of Netherlands created a weblog to keep the people informed about new Dodo expedition:

Leiden, 29 May 2006 On Friday, 2 June 2006, an international research team will depart for a 32-day expedition to Mauritius. This expedition will follow up Dutch scientists major find in autumn 2005 of a unique treasure trove of exceptionally rare Dodo remains. The purpose of the current expedition is to reconstruct the world of the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) before Western man set foot on the island of Mauritius and wiped out the species. The expedition will seek to clarify the Dodos ecotope and explain why it became extinct.

The blog is called Dodo Expeditie Weblog and it has almost daily updates with interesting information of what this group of international multidisciplinary team composed by geologists, palaeontologists, botanists, sedimentologists, palynologists, ancient DNA specialists and archaeologists are doing to discover Who or what killed the Dodo. I loved that and I suggest to you sign the blog as I did. Don’t worry, you can chose the English version if your Dutch is so good as mine.

In Dodoland