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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Dodo

The origin of the word dodo is unclear. Some say it is from the Dutch ‘dodoor’, meaning ‘sluggard’. Another theory is that it comes from ‘dodaerse’ (knot-bum), referring to a knot of feathers on the dodo’s rear end, or the Portuguese ‘doudo’ (crazy).

The Dodo was first seen by Portuguese sailors in about 1507. They hunted it for food, killing large numbers with clubs. Pigs and rats, taken to Mauritius by European settlers, devoured dodo eggs, which presumably were laid on the ground.

The last dodos in Mauritius were killed by English sailors in 1680. It was among the first animals to become extinct in the modern period.

In 1755, Oxford University burned a taxidermied Dodo bird, unaware that it was the last complete specimen in the world.



Dodos were about a metre tall and weighed around 45lb.

The Dodo in Alice in Wonderland is based on the author, Charles Dodgson, who had a stammer and would introduce himself as “Do-do-dogson.”

The earliest known use of the phrase ‘dead as a dodo’ was in 1904. 'Extinct as the dodo,' dates back to 1870.

According to a 2010 statistical analysis, there is a three in a million chance dodos are not extinct.

The Dodo appears on the coat of arms of Mauritius.

The closest living relative of the dodo is thought to be the Nicobar pigeon of the Malay archipelago.

Sources Daily Express,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

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