153. Dodo


The DODO was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Closely related to pigeons and doves, it was three feet tall and weighed about 20 kilograms. It lived on fruits and nested on the ground.

The dodo has been extinct since the 17th century. Its extinction occurred during recorded human history, and was directly caused by the human activity.

The popular phrase is “as dead as a dodo”. The verb phrase “to go the way of the dodo” means to become extinct or obsolete, to fall out of common usage or practice, or to become a thing of the past.

The dodo was not only dumb but also daring! It was entirely fearless of man. This, in addition to its inability to fly, made it easy prey. Reports say that the dodo meat had a bad taste and was tough to eat. Apparently the bird was killed only to make head dressings used in religious ceremonies.

However, when humans first arrived on Mauritius, they also brought with them other animals that had not existed on the island before, such as dogs, pigs, cats and rats The Crab-eating Macaques plundered the dodo nests, while humans destroyed the forests where the birds made their homes. The damages caused by the pigs and macaques on the dodo population are considered to have been more severe than that of hunting.

The 2005 expedition’s finds are apparently of animals killed by a flash flood; such mass mortalities would have further jeopardized an already extinction-prone species. Although there are scattered reports of mass killings of dodos for provisioning of ships, archaeological investigations have hitherto found scant evidence of human predation on these birds.

It is rightly said that fools rush in where angels fear to tread! The “Dumbness and dare-devilry” of the dodo was a doomed, dangerous and deadly combination—no doubt!

Visalakshi Ramani

2 Responses to 153. Dodo

  1. hgjkjhhg says:

    nice very knowledgeble

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