A brief history of the dodo

The Dodo and other birds

A brief history of the bird dodoThe Dodo were huge birds of unknown species that existed only on the island of Mauritius which had no human habitation prior to 1598. Due to its short wings and bulky body the dodo could not fly or flee in the face of danger.


For many years people have been using the above description when referring to the Dodo. However, new research carried out in the United Kingdom has revealed two important things we did not know before about this extinct bird.

Firstly, the Dodo came from a distant family of Asian pigeons. Secondly, they were not so huge and bulky in their natural habitat as was commonly thought of. Details about the UK research can be found at the following site:

Those birds had no experience of any types of predators before the arrival of settlers in the island. They were passive creatures even when approached by human visitors for the first time. So it was with lack of fears and child-like innocence that those birds greeted the first settlers, the Dutch, in 1598.

The story of the Dodo is indeed a tragic one. Firstly, human visitors, mainly the Dutch, used to kill them for food. Those that survived became prey to animals such as pigs, rats and monkeys that had been introduced into the island by sailors. By the year 1681 the last Dodo had died. The manner in which the Dodo were obliterated from the surface of the earth has left a lasting impact on the natural history of our global eco-system: in fact a lesson in extinction to humanity. So much so, that the English expression 'As dead as the Dodo' had to be coined to emphasize the concept of total annihilation or non-existence (by death) of something, or someone, or some idea, either in the literal or abstract sense.

Also read: Dead as a duodo - Mauritius experience

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