The Scoop: A bird that was smarter than we thought
The dodo bird—a bird native to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean–may have gone extinct in the 17th century, but many are still fascinated by the dodo today.
One of the biggest reasons the dodo hasn’t been erased from memory is that it was often assumed to be so dumb and so ill-adapted to its environment, that extinction was unavoidable. These assumptions, however, have been proven false by scientists in recent decades.
Paleontologists have studied the few physical remains of the dodo left today. The bird was large—about 3 feet tall—and couldn’t fly. But scientists say that the dodo’s anatomy actually points to a bird that was quite agile and could move at great speeds.
Scientists have also determined that the dodo had an average sized brain for a bird of that size, with an above-average sense of smell. This heightened smell would have allowed the bird to sniff out and find its favorite food, fruit, in places it could reach from the ground.
So why did the dodo bird go extinct? Scientists say it was likely the result of a combination of reasons. First, humans changed the habitat of the island by cutting down trees or harvesting fruit the dodos liked to eat. Second, humans also introduced non-native species to the island, which would have introduced new predators or other animal diseases to the dodo.
While we may not ever know all the facts, it’s important to look at creatures like the dodo and apply best practices to the environments and habitats our animal friends live in today. When we take better care of our forests, mountains and islands, we take better care of the amazing creatures who live there.
- Until humans discovered the island, the dodo had no natural predators.
- The dodo is mentioned in the book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
- Dodos were recorded as being naturally curious, friendly birds.
- The dodo bird, a relative of the pigeon, was a famous flightless bird that was driven to extinction by humans 175 years after its discovery on the island of Mauritius.
- The last dodo recorded alive was in 1681.
- Dodos were thought to lay and hatch a single egg at a time each season.