Dodo is a flightless extinct bird about a meter high and weighing 20 kg. It was his death that first formed the opinion that man is capable of causing the extinction of animals.
For the first time, Europeans met with dodo birds, or dodos, in Mauritius. However, within a century of its discovery, the species became extinct. Ancient Origins tells about them.
Focus.Technology has its own Telegram channel. Subscribe to not miss the latest and most interesting news from the world of science!
Dodos were flightless woodland birds, similar to giant ground doves, endemic to Mauritius. There was no human settlement on this island before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 1500s. Researchers believe that these birds originated millions of years ago in Southeast Asia, but after rising sea levels, they existed apart.
In addition, these birds remain mysterious. Since there are a limited number of remains and unscientific descriptions and drawings found in the ship’s logs, scientists are still unsure of their appearance. Due to the lack of natural predators, they evolved to be large, heavy and flightless – up to a meter tall and 20 kilograms in weight.
Unfortunately, they were not afraid of people, and also could not escape from the hungry Portuguese sailors, who called them dodo, which means “fools”.
The last living dodo was spotted in the late 1600s. And although it interested people of that time, during the 18th century this species was considered stupid fictional creatures that settled in the pages of mythology among unicorns and mermaids. Unfortunately, blaming victims for their own mistreatment and premature death was a constant in colonial history.
The remains of a dodo exhibited at the Oxford Museum of Natural History became the inspiration for the character Alice
Фото: Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Thanks to Lewis Carroll, whose real name is Charles Lutwidge, the dodo became popular. The writer often visited the Oxford Museum of Natural History, where the only specimen of the bird’s soft tissues, the Oxford dodo, is kept. He later created the character for his famous book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. Some believe that the dodo was the personification of the author himself, because because of his stutter, he was presented as a “do-do-dodgerson”.
Subsequently, this character drew attention to the first recognized anthropogenic extinction of animals. Researchers believe that this extinct bird disappeared due to over-hunting and habitat destruction.
In addition, the dodos themselves reproduced very slowly, laying only one egg at a time. It also gave vulnerability to these unfortunate birds.
Beth Shapiro and Ben Lamm have announced plans to resurrect the iconic dodo, or Raphus cucullatus, last seen in the 17th century.
Photo: Colossal Biosciences
The sad story of the Dodo, as well as human involvement in the very extinction of animals, inspired scientists to resurrect the dodo. In January 2023, Texas-based gene-editing company Colossal Biosciences announced that it intends to bring the extinct dodo bird back to life using ancient DNA sequencing, gene editing, and synthetic biology.
This is considered the first revival of birds. Previously, the company also planned to resurrect the greatest mamut.
While there are critics of the “return to life” and call it “fabulous science”, these initiatives raise awareness and funding for endangered species and research aimed at their conservation.
Perhaps it is the revival of the dodo, which is synonymous with extinction, that will become that much-needed symbol of hope for a brighter future.
Previously, Focus talked about a prehistoric insect that was thought to be dead. However, fortunately, it turned out to be alive.
We also wrote about amazing rock paintings depicting unicorns. The researchers decided to find out if these mythical creatures actually existed.
Leave a Reply