What Really Happened to the Dodo

The word “dodo” has long been associated with stupidity. This is because of the reputation of the bird with the same name. For centuries, people believed that this bird became extinct because it was unintelligent. But this is not the case at all.

The dodo was a flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius. Its population rapidly declined after European (mainly Dutch) sailors first settled on the island. Most people still believe that the birds were easily hunted to extinction because they would walk right up to a machete-wielding human. They even let the sailors pick them up, which seems like really stupid behavior for a wild animal.

images.vice.com

While it is true that these Dutch sailors killed many of these birds for meat, it is not true that they were able to do so due to the animal’s lack of intelligence. The birds were trusting of the humans because they had no natural predators on the island. They were simply curious and had no instinctual reason to be fearful. Their ungainly walk probably also aided their easy capture by hungry sailors and settlers.

Even though some of the dodo birds were killed by humans for meat, this was not the main cause of their extinction. Rather, it was the animals that were brought on the ships with the people that caused the extermination of the species.

The Europeans brought pigs, cats, and rats with them on their ships, none of which had ever been seen on Mauritius before. They brought the pigs to use as a meat source and then released them on the island to forage for food. Unfortunately, one of their food sources turned out to be dodo eggs, which the birds laid in unprotected nests on the ground. Rats, which lived on every ship in those days, also developed a taste for dodo chicks. And cats, which were brought on board to control the rat population, roamed the island killing and eating the birds and their chicks.

Since the dodo only lays one egg per season, they did not stand a chance from the onslaught of new non-native species that were invading their island. Even though dodos began adapting their behavior and became wary of humans, they were no match to the marauding animals brought by the settlers. Within 80 years after humans first settled Mauritius, the dodo was extinct.

The fact that the birds managed to adapt their behavior towards human by avoiding them and even fighting back with their large beaks proves that they were not unintelligent animals. Some even began moving their nests to more remote areas, but the cats and rats could still reach them. If humans had been their only predator, we might still have them today. But the large numbers of invasive species brought to this tiny, 800 square mile island simply overwhelmed them.

So the next time someone uses the word “dodo” as a derogatory term, feel free to correct them on the intelligence of this curious bird.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • The Wise Seemingly Mad People Of Gotham

    Throughout history, not many people have been very fond of taxes being raised or new taxes appearing. And that is even true as far back as 1200 when the small sleepy medieval town of Gotham played an incredible rouse all to get out of paying taxes. Gotham a small town...

    Read More
  • As Flashy As A Sea Sapphire

    Growing up any kid would like to be able to control color on demand. Explode into different shades of light and cause your very own firework show. There is actually a creature that is able to flash up brightly and then completely disappear, on the fly. These ant size creatures live in subtropical or warm...

    Read More
  • Camels Disqualified From Beauty Contest Due To Botox Use

    It sounds like such a mad thing to do, to inject a camel with botox. But in the money mad world of Saudi Arabia’s Camel Festival anything is possible. Plastic surgery is now a big problem that organizers of King Adbulaziz’s Camel Festival are having to deal with. This festival...

    Read More
  • The Rapist Hunting Warrior Woman

    The Hundred Year War between France and England was the birthplace of many legends and tales of revenge. Years of turmoil and battles created the perfect outlet for warriors to become legends. Or they became the perfect place for you to seek your vengeance: to hunt your demons. That is what Marguerite de Bressieux did,...

    Read More
  • Swarm Robots Ready For Mass Production

    If you have had ever had nightmares about robots taking over the world, then maybe you should close this article right now. The Zebro swarm robot is an insect hive mind-like robot which is pretty much ready to be mass produced. Why are we potentially causing a Terminator plot like scenario? ...

    Read More
  • When Ants Go To War They Bring The Medics

    A species of aggressive Viking-like raiding ants actually save their wounded and then stitch them up. Yes, it appears they have dedicated doctor and nurse ants ready to save the wounded. And the incredible thing is researchers have determined that this strange behavior actually gives the injured ant a 90%...

    Read More
  • Secret Painting Found Behind A Picasso Masterpiece

    A new scanning technique put together by art researchers in the US continues to undercover amazing art secrets. The newest discovery has been found beneath a Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece: The Crouching Woman or “La Misereuse Accroupie” as called in French. Scanning systems for art pieces have existed for some time...

    Read More
  • The Man Who Fought WWII For 30 Years

    The mission was to stay out of sight and collect information about the Allied troop movements. The Location was the island of Lubang in the Philippines. Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda from the Japanese Imperial Army was tasked with a Rambo-like top secret mission: him and his four man team against the world. At least that is...

    Read More