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How Is the Dodo Commemorated in Mauritius?

The dodo bird was a goofy-looking creature. Weighing about 50 pounds (23 kg)-- with a big head, a 9-inch (23-cm) bill, small worthless wings, and curly tail feathers -- the now-extinct bird living on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean was thought to be a small ostrich, an albatross, or even a vulture by early scientists. Today, it’s thought that the flightless dodo belonged to the same family as pigeons and doves. Though it has been gone for about 350 years, the dodo has not been forgotten on Mauritius, where it has been declared the national animal.

Don't forget the dodo:

  • The Dutch first arrived in Mauritius in 1598. By 1715, when the French claimed the island as their own, the dodo was gone. The last sightings were reported around 1680.

  • Early settlers brought cats, rats, monkeys, pigs and other animals with them, either by design or by accident. These new animal neighbors actually killed off the dodo by eating its eggs, and competing with it for food.

  • Today, the dodo remains a metaphor for ecological degradation, and the extinction of species. In 2016, scientists sequenced the dodo genome, and some have considered re-introducing the bird.

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More Info: Atlas Obscura

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