Looking back the world history we can found many animals that extinct because of human acts. Including Pyrenean ibex, Steller’s sea cow, Tasmanian tiger, Quagga, and Dodo. Dodo was the first to extinct from above animals. In 1662 lastly reported about this Bird species endemic to the Island of Mauritius. After that there was no report about this bird from any country so they were added to the list of extinct animals.

The way Dodo was found first

In the end of 16 the century the Dutch naval power was high. Therefore the Netherlands started to go to eastern countries. So in 1598, A Dutch naval team was traveling to Indonesia. On the way that travel that found the beautiful island Mauritius. The Dutch sailors decided to explore the island that was discovered about ninety years ago by a group of Portuguese sailors, because of its beauty. After that, the team that anchored their ship by the beach, search the area.

A drawing of a dutch sailors in the Mauritius
Picture: A drawing of a dutch sailors in the Mauritius

They saw how fruits were in the fertile lands. The sailors who were happy to see ripe fruit went further to the island. They were able to see a lot of beautiful animals. They haven’t seen a bird from that. That bird that did not have feathers were all over the Mauritius Island. Sailors caught some of that birds.

Because of the odd look these birds had Dutch sailors saw them as Stupid birds. Therefore they were named “Dodo”. Even before dutch sailors found these dodo birds Portuguese sailors had mentioned in their Shipping records, that they saw some wired birds nearby Mauritius island. Historians who considered that reports, Guessed that these are the same kind of birds.

A Dutch ship sailing at sea
Picture: A Dutch ship sailing at sea

The appearance of the bird

Today we can’t see dodo birds. There are only bones and fossils of dodo birds. When the time dodo birds were found the technology was not developed that much. Because to recognize the dodo bird’s appearance the reports of sailors were helped. Also, the drawings of discoveries helped get an idea about the dodo bird.

According to Dutch sailors’ arts, Dodo was gray and white however according to new researches dodo was colored from light gray, blue to gray-brown.

The scientific name of the dodo is Raphus cucullatus. Dodo belongs to the Columbidae bird family where pigeons and doves belong. “Nicobar pigeon” is the closest bird to Dodo.

Therefore, researchers say that dodo bird had blue, gray, white, and brown feathers. And also thus birds had short feathers they couldn’t fly. And dodo had an iron-colored big beak. Normally a well-grown bird was like 50 pounds in weight and 3 foot tall.in addition to that dodo bird had a short tail. The yellow color dodo’s feet had 3 fingers in front and 1 finger in back.

Dodo bird
Picture: Dodo bird

Food eaten

According to sailors and Explorers’ records dodo birds had eaten the following things. The character of that is they have mostly eaten Vegetative things.

1. Ripe fruits

2. Flower buds and leaves

3. Yams and roots of some plants

4. All kind of grasses

5. Small insects

 Lifestyle

Dodo birds that like to live alone, live as a couple only during the Reproduction period. When it’s time to dodo female birds to Laying eggs, the male bird makes a strong nest like a small mountain with leaves and branches. After chicks were born male bird and female bird protecting the nest. Unknown dodo bird won’t able to came 200 meters near to the nest. If any dodo bird came closer they were kicked out. We can suggest that dodo birds protected their chicks because their reproductive rate was low.

A drawing of dodos
Picture: A drawing of dodos

Reasons for extinction

The dodo birds that lived without any harm extinct even before the century passed after they were revealed to the world. Historian says that dodo birds are extinct because of the following reasons.

Hunted for meat

Many sailors and explorers came to Mauritius island between 1598-1662. The people who came with them stayed there for months. So they wanted food. So they found food by hunting. Dodo was kind of a lazy animal and easily got caught by hunters. So they become extinct because of that.

Low reproductive rate

Dodo birds shed their feathers few times in their life, and change colorful feathers. When become mature sexually lots of them change their feathers. Birds like Ostrich who have no ownership of the sky are an example of birds who change their feathers. The newest research about dodo birds was done by a research team at the university of Cape town south Africa. This team was led by Professor Angus.

Dodo Skeleton
Picture: Dodo Skeleton

New information was revealed by researching the bonus of twenty fossilized dodo birds. According to information that received growth of dodo birds happened rapidly initially. Their growth happened in small time in this fast because of the rude weather.

Madagascar is an island in Southern Hemisphere and is suffering from Hurricanes. Investigations confirmed that Dodo’s body was growing rapidly to survive the violent weather. Professor Angus has said to the media that “a lot of birds shed their feathers in the present. With the shedding of feathers, new colorful feathers appear. There have been debates in the past as to whether dodo birds did the same, but it has now been confirmed”

However, due to the low fertility rate of dodo birds in the last season, new offspring did not emerge until they were extinct. Also, some people used the eggs in the dodo nest to make food. As a result of that many dodo chicks who were hoping to see the light died untimely. That was Caused the extinction of dodo birds.

Researcher holding a replica of a Dodo bird, the was made  based on the Dodo skeleton
Picture: Researcher holding a replica of a Dodo bird, the was made based on the Dodo skeleton

Many animals arrive on the island with humans

Animals such as dogs and cats also came with the human groups that came to Mauritius. They hunted many animals while they were on that island. So they hunted dodo birds. That was another reason that caused the extinction of dodo birds.

Lack of homes and food

Dodo birds lost their habitats due to the destruction caused by various human groups on the island of Mauritius. Thus, the food they used to consume became extinct. Such loss of habitat and food caused a major threat to Dodo’s survival.

The Dutch, who arrived there in the 1500s, massacred these birds for food, and by 1650 they were completely extinct.

A group of children watching  the Dodo Bird from the  Museum
Picture: A group of children watching the Dodo Bird from the Museum

At the time, they were unaware that human activity was causing great harm to the environment so that was another reason. But when the animals began to extinct greatly from such incidents, some scholars became more concerned about this. But by then how much damage has been done?

The global warming that is often talked about now is a similar matter. For about two thousand years, most people did not accept that human activity was causing global warming. Now there is evidence for it, but there are still people who believe that it is not so. This can be caused by capitalism, religious beliefs, selfishness, and ignorance. This catastrophic damage to the environment for the sake of temporary gains is very powerful in the future. When we learn of that damage, maybe we are not even alive…

Thanks.

1 Comment

  1. Himal Jayasinghe Reply

    So much information and creativity and also helpful for people like us ,nice work BTW😍🤝

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