Dodos were descendants of a type of pigeon, which settled on the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Reunion over 4 million years ago. With no predators to attack them they evolved into a ground bird incapable of flight.
Dodos were swan-sized, weighing about 50 pounds.
The dodo used to lay one large egg on a pile of grass on the ground. Due to the vulnerability of its nest, and his slow conspicuous way of walking, the dodo was soon a victim of the early visitors to Mauritius.
The Dutch called the dodo the “nauseous bird” because no manner of cooking would make it palatable. They ate them anyway, despite the fact that their flesh was tough and not particularly tasty.
The introduction of predatory dogs, cats, monkeys, pigs and rats to Mauritius sealed the fate of the hapless dodo. The island soon became overpopulated with these new species, which attacked and destroyed the dodo eggs, chicks, and adults.
The last of the dodos was seen in 1681. The only traces of this legendary bird are in old prints.
The feathers of the dodo bird were mostly yellowish and gray with the tail having three to six fluffy white feathers, as well as white feathers on its belly.
By examining the skeletal remains and then reconstructing the body’s muscles and tissue layers, researchers have determined that the dodo was not necessarily fat. Rather, the dodo was more likely a slim and handsome bird.
In 1865, George Clark (an English schoolmaster who lived near Grand Port) discovered some dodo skeletons in the Sea of Dreams. His discovery aroused a great deal of interest and has helped us determine what the dodo probably looked like.