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Dodo Frequently Asked Questions


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Archive-name: birds-faq/extinct/dodo
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: July 24, 2000
Copyright: Copyright 1998-2000, David Reilly. All Rights Reserved.
Maintainer: David Reilly (dodo@fan.net.au)

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Dodo Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
----------------------------------------

Copyright 1998-2000, David Reilly. All Rights Reserved.

This document contains answers to frequently asked
questions about the extinct Mauritian dodo bird. This
document is only a draft, and anyone wishing to
contribute should contact me (dodo@fan.net.au).

The latest version of the FAQ can always be found online
at http://www.davidreilly.com/dodo/dodo-faq.txt, or by
sending email to dodo-faq@davidreilly.com

Table of Contents

1..  What is a dodo bird?
2..  What is the scientific name of the dodo?
3..  Where did the dodo bird live?
4..  When was the dodo first discovered?
5..  When did the dodo become extinct?
6..  Why did the dodo become extinct?
7..  People use the word dodo as an insult. Was it really
      stupid?
8..  Why do people use the phrase "dead as a dodo"?
9..  Where can I find a picture of the dodo bird?
10.. Where can I find more information about the dodo?
11.. Where can I find dodo products?

Q: 1.. What is a dodo bird?

The dodo bird is an extinct bird, which is believed to
have died out around 1681 AD. The dodo bird was a gray,
flightless bird, and may be a distant relative of the
pigeon family. It had a large, hooked beak, and a
plume of white feathers adorned its tail.

Surprisingly little is known about the dodo and its way
of life. Some scientists believe that the dodo was
extremely overweight, from between twenty and twenty
three kilograms. Others speculate that it was much
thinner, and that it was a running bird. There are no
live specimens of dodo to examine, and paintings and
drawings of the dodo show great differences in its size.


Q: 2.. What is the scientific name of the dodo?

The scientific name of the dodo bird is "Raphus
Cucullatus".


Q: 3.. Where did the dodo bird live?

The dodo bird lived on the island of Mauritius, which
is located off the coast of Africa. On the island, the
dodo had few, if any, predators, and it was safe for the
bird to live on the ground. This changed with the
introduction of feral animals, and with the influence
of man.

Q: 4.. When was the dodo first discovered?

The dodo was first discovered in 1581, by visitors to the
island of Mauritius.


Q: 5.. When did the dodo become extinct?

The exact date is uncertain, but it is generally believed
that the dodo was extinct around 1681.


Q: 6.. Why did the dodo become extinct?

When man introduced new species, the dodo was easy prey.
However, the direct influence of man through hunting also
played a significant role - eventually leading to the
extinction of the species.


Q: 7.. People use the word dodo as an insult. Was it 
        really stupid?

No! The dodo, being an animal, didn't have the same
levels of intelligence as people, but nor did it suffer
from a lack of smarts. This fallacy may stem from the
fact that early visitors to the island were surprised
to find the dodo to be a friendly bird - despite the
fact that they were slaughtered in large numbers. Just
because an animal doesn't have an innate fear of an
introduced predator (man), doesn't necessarily indicate
a lack of intelligence.


Q: 8.. Why do people use the phrase "dead as a dodo"?

The dodo is an extinct bird, and is often remembered
for its death.


Q: 9.. Where can I find a picture of the dodo bird?

Pictures of the dodo can often be found in an
encyclopedia, or from books on extinct birds, or even
online on the WWW. Remember, however, that the dodo
was a gray bird - some "clever" artists think that
the dodo looks better in pink, purple, bright blue, or
even green.


Q: 10.. Where can I find more information about the dodo?

Finding information about the dodo can be difficult. The
local library should be the first place to look, in an
encyclopedia. If this isn't enough, then you can try the
following sources :

[online] Tragedy of the Dodo (1584-1681), available from
http://www.davidreilly.com/dodo/

[online] American Museum of Natural History, available at
http://www.amnh.org/Exhibition/Expedition/Treasures/Dodo/dodo.html

[book] Extinct Birds, by Errol Fuller (out of print)

Q: 11.. Where can I find dodo products?

You can occasionally find dodo products in gift stores and animal
stores. However, these are very rare, and sometimes of low quality.
The best place to buy dodo products is at Dodo Island, an online
site devoted to the dodo that also sells dodo products. There's a
huge range of dodo figures, toys, clothes, and accessories. For
more information, see http://www.dodoisland.com/

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