The Tale of the Dodo Bird. A Sad Story of Extinction. The dodo has a silly sounding name. Although the exact origin of the name "dodo" is unknown, it may have come from either the Portuguese ‘doudo’ meaning foolish or the Dutch word ‘dodoor’ which translates to mean sluggard (lazy-one). .
A Sad Story of Extinction
The dodo has a silly sounding name. Although the exact origin of the name "dodo" is unknown, it may have come from either the Portuguese ‘doudo’ meaning foolish or the Dutch word ‘dodoor’ which translates to mean sluggard (lazy-one).
Either way, Dodo is not a flattering name for a harmless bird that has been extinct for over three hundred years!
It is difficult to get an accurate picture of the dodo, since only one complete skeleton exists today, put together from bits and pieces of different dodo birds.
It is estimated that the average dodo weighed anywhere from 45 to 50 pounds.
Since the Dodo couldn’t fly, they nested on the ground, laying a single egg in a thick nest of grass.
Sailors' journals from the early 1600's report that the mother raised the young and protected the nest with fierce bites from her thick, large beak.
It is also unclear what the Dodos ate. Some birds were reported to wade in the shallow water at the shore, searching for fish, but the most remarked upon eating habit of the dodo was their need to swallow stones. The stones probably helped digestion.
Let’s find out!
In 1680, on the Island of Mauritius (pronounced “More-ee’-shus”) there were many different kinds of birds, including the Dodo bird.
Let’s look at a map of the continent of Africa. See if you can located the island of Mauritius.
The Dodo was a bird with a large body and very short wings. It could not fly. There were no large mammals to prey on the Dodo. Sailors landed on the island and began killing the Dodo for food and its eggs.
Does this sound like a problem?
Also…Sailors brought animals such as pigs and monkeys which ate the Dodo eggs and the Dodo bird.
How could this make the problem worse?
The Dodo became extinct!
Also, the seeds from the Calvaria tree on the island of Mauritius could only sprout and grow after they had gone through the digestive system of the dodo.
The seed of a Calvaria tree was very hard and needed the dodo bird to crack it.
The tree depended on the dodo and when the dodo became extinct, the tree became endangered.
Only 80 years after humans came to Mauritius, the dodo was extinct and the Calvaria tree was endangered as well.
Because the seed could not spread and grow, the tree became extinct as well.