It is likely that you have ever heard of the dodo bird, which today we can only see in museums, but you may not know what it looks like or what happened to it. You may even know her because in some movies she appears as a somewhat fat and clumsy bird. But what else do you know about this extinct bird ?
At AgroCorrn we want to explain everything there is to know about why the dodo became extinct and more details, such as its characteristics and when the last living specimen was seen, among other curiosities about this animal. So, if you are interested in learning more about the Raphus cucullatus species or also called the drone, keep reading this article.
- Characteristics of the dodo bird
- Habitat and feeding of the drone or dodo
- Why the dodo became extinct
- The extinction of the dodo or drotne could have easily been prevented
Characteristics of the dodo bird
Before discussing exactly why the drone went extinct , we discussed some important details. Thus, among the characteristics of the dodo that it is good to know to understand its history, we highlight the following:
- It was originally from the Mauritius Islands, in the Indian Ocean and very close to Madagascar. In fact, it lived there long before the appearance of humans.
- There were two species of this bird: the common dodo , which was dark or grayish in color, and the white dodo .
- The white dodo only lived on one of the islands: Reunion Island.
- It was a bird that could not fly, since they adapted to living on these islands without predators, so they had no need to fly.
- This fact caused its wings and tail to be shortened.
- They were around 1 meter tall and weighed between 13 and 23 kg.
- Its plumage covered its entire body except the fair part of the face, the beak and the legs.
- The beak was long, about 20 cm in length, and slightly hooked. It is believed that with it they broke coconuts, one of their foods.
- They made nests to lay their eggs directly on the ground.
- One of its most well-known distant and living relatives is pigeons.
- Although in the documents that have been found it is described as a fat and slow bird, it is possible that it is due to the captivity to which the conquerors of these islands subjected it between the 16th and 17th centuries, and that in freedom they weighed somewhat less and were a little more agile.
- It is believed that the sailors who went to the Mauritius Islands and took them to Europe also consumed them during the trip, as they did with other birds, such as chickens. However, it was said that their meat was not very good, but what they did like a lot were their eggs and feathers and, for this reason and because they were exotic, they were highly valued animals in Europe for a long time.
Habitat and feeding of the drone or dodo
There are two aspects that are important to better understand this extinct bird, but which still generate doubts for current scientists and who continue to investigate: its habitat and its eating habits .
As we have previously, this bird only lived in the Mauritius Islands, so its habitat was tropical, with two different very marked seasons: one wet and the other dry. Therefore, it evolved to adapt to a life on these islands, without large predators to threaten it and preparing during the wet season to survive the dry season . Thus, with his diet he had to accumulate fat and also needed to be alert to find water during the dry season and safe shelter during the wet season.
Regarding its diet, thanks to the documents found, scientists believe that it was based mainly on the seeds of the tambalacoque tree . It is also endemic to the Mauritius Islands and due to this belief in the feeding of this bird, it is also known as the dodo tree . Likewise, it is known that the dodo ate seeds from other trees and small plants, fruits and insects . Anyway, as we indicated, it is something that scientists are not entirely clear and continue to investigate.
Why the dodo became extinct
The dodo bird became extinct because of the human being . The first recorded time of the encounter of this bird with humans dates from the year 1574, according to data found in Europe, and it was about European sailors. Since then there are few records, until in 1581 the Spanish navigators captured a drone and took it by boat to the European continent . The name he was given, “dodo”, is believed to mean “stupid” as he looked clumsy from his appearance. This is how the Raphus cucullatus species came to the old world and began to gain fame for various reasons.
More specimens began to be hunted and kept in Europe, not mainly for their meat, but for their eggs and feathers , especially those of the white drone. In addition, not only the adult specimens or the small young were taken, but also the eggs, which were very easy to find in nests on the ground.
In addition, not only were some of them taken to Europe, but the men who settled on the islands, mainly Dutch, brought with them new animals that became predators of these birds , which were not used to fleeing from other animals, such as dogs and rats, and therefore did not have great defense instincts. It should also be added that scientists believe that diseases were also included on the island, especially by other introduced birds, such as chickens.
Thus, putting all this together, the documents state that the extinction of the dodo was in approximately 1662 , due to this invasion of its habitat and its hunting. Therefore, we can say that the main cause of their disappearance is the action of man, which happened only about 65 years after the Dutch settled on the islands. It is worth mentioning that, according to some authors, the white drone became extinct in 1761 .
This is how another extinction occurred that led to the continued loss of biodiversity .
The extinction of the dodo or drotne could have easily been prevented
Being a man-made extinction , it was certainly avoidable. If at that time there had been awareness of the importance of biodiversity , perhaps this problem would not have come. However, today we do have the necessary knowledge to know the great importance of respecting the animal and plant life of the planet and, even so, we are still guilty of the disappearance of several species .
As of the year 1662, some sightings of the drotne have been documented a few decades after that year, but they do not turn out to be very reliable, and since then there have been no more.
In addition, currently, there are scientists who are looking for a way to resurrect some extinct species , such as the dodo, the saber-toothed tiger or the mammoth.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why the dodo bird became extinct , we recommend that you enter our category of Extinct Animals .
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