Dodo Facts

Dodo Facts
Dodo is one of the most famous flightless birds that became extinct shortly after it was discovered (175 years after its discovery). Dodo was endemic for Mauritius, island in the Indian Ocean. It was numerous on dry coastal areas and tropical forests of Mauritius before sailors arrived to this island in 1598. People brought dogs, cats, pigs and rats to the island, which together with sailors hunted dodo and ate its eggs, until they eliminated the last bird from the island. Last dodo was seen in the wild in 1662. It was declared officially extinct in 1681. Story of dodo is one of the first and one of the best-known stories of man-made extinction.
Interesting Dodo Facts:
Dodo was able to reach 3.3 feet in height and 23 to 47 pounds of weight.
Color of dodo's plumage is still a mystery. Based on the old sketches of amateur naturalists, many researchers believe that dodo was gray or brownish colored.
First complete skeleton of dodo was discovered in the cave on Mauritius in 2007. Until that time, dried heads and legs were the only fossils of dodo.
Dodo had large head, 9-inches-long, hooked beak, stout body, stubby wings and thick legs.
Dodo was able to run very fast (based on the anatomy and size of its legs).
Dodo was ground-dwelling bird. It had lost ability to fly because it lived in areas with plenty of food, without natural enemies (it didn't have to fly to find food or to escape from a danger).
Dodo was an omnivore. Its diet was based on the fruit, nuts, seed, roots, bulbs, shellfish and crabs.
Extinction of dodo resulted in the near extinction of dodo tree, plant whose seed can germinate only after exposure to dodo's digestive enzymes.
Dodo was ground-nesting bird. Females probably laid only one egg per season. Scientists believe that chicks were unable to fend for themselves until they reach maturity (they depended on their mothers until that time).
Despite popular belief, people didn't hunted dodo as a source of food (its meat was described as tough and distasteful).
Dodo was symbol of stupidity in the past because it didn't hesitate to approach people even when they were armed with clubs. Lack of natural enemies (rather than lack of brain) is more logical explanation for this behavior. Dodo is portrayed as very smart bird in the Lewis Carroll's book "Alice in the Wonderland".
Entire tourism on the Mauritius is based on dodo, despite the fact that it doesn't exist for centuries. Pictures of dodo can be found all over the island.
Dodo is on the emblem of Mauritius.
Dodo is symbol of extinction, eco-terrorism and conservation all over the world today.
Lifespan of dodo is unknown. Based on the weight of this bird, researchers estimate that average lifespan was 17 (females) to 21 (males) years.

Related Links:
Extinct Animals Facts
Animals Facts
Animal Facts for Kids
Function of Cytoplasm
Kiwi Facts