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Nature & Environment

Scientists reveal lost secrets of the dodo

By T.K. Randall
August 26, 2017 · Comment icon 5 comments

What were these birds really like ? Image Credit: William Hodges
Relatively little is known about the iconic species which was wiped out by humans over 350 years ago.
The dodo, a flightless bird that once inhabited the island of Mauritius, is perhaps the best known example of a species hunted to extinction by man - a creature that has since become synonymous with the idea that our activities on this planet can have dire consequences for other species.

The first reported encounter with a dodo was by Dutch sailors in 1598 and by 1662 the species had been completely wiped out due to hunting and the destruction of its habitat.

Now scientists have been able to shed some light on what these long-lost birds might have actually been like by analyzing the bones of 22 specimens under a microscope.
Their findings suggested that the chicks would have hatched in August before growing rapidly to adult size, something that would have helped them to survive during the hurricane season.

The birds would have also shed their feathers in March, revealing a fluffy grey plumage.

"Before our study we knew very very little about these birds," said Delphine Angst of the University of Cape Town, South Africa. "Using the bone histology for the first time we managed to describe that this bird was actually breeding at a certain time of the year and was moulting just after that."

Source: BBC News | Comments (5)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Myles 7 years ago
I hope the dodo is on a short list to bring back.   I have room in my chicken coop for a couple.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Ozfactor 7 years ago
that was a great article, I have always had a soft spot for the dodo   
Comment icon #3 Posted by Black Monk 7 years ago
I used to love playing Dudley Dodo's Environment Game as a kid.
Comment icon #4 Posted by MJNYC 7 years ago
So sad that this animal is gone. I pray that we don't cause the extinction of any other animals.    
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
My first Brittany had a nickname of "Dodo". I had never had a dog like her before and still haven't, even with other Brittanys (or is it Brittanies?)  Either way, dogs like her seem to be extinct.  She knew my paper route and wouldn't let me miss anyone.  If someone stopped getting the paper all I her to tell her they didn't get the paper anymore and she walked right past the house the next time I took her, leashless.  When she went blind she still went to the living room chair by the window and waited for my Dad to come home.  She always went there at the same time Monday thru Friday.... [More]

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