The Mauritius Dodo, the scientific name for the Dodo is a large flightless bird, which was opened by European sailors in 1598. The Dodo bird is endemic, that is representative of the local fauna, Mauritius, South East coast of Africa and Madagascar.
The Dodo belongs to the pigeon family, has a large, almost exaggerated beak for the production of sweet pulp of nuts and fruits, and short vestigial wings. The Mauritius Dodo can not fly, and that was the main reason for its subsequent extinction.
Accurate external description of the Mauritius Dodo has not survived to our days. Species of animal known only through written sources of the 17th century, describing a Dodo, it is known that the bird reaches a height of 1 meter, weighs up to 20 pounds and was distinguished by a gentle, timid disposition. On existing images at Dodo grey or brown coloration, yellow legs and a small tuft of tail feathers.
The most accurate description of the Dodo, collected from several sources, as follows:
- short beak, long up to 20 centimeters of black, yellow or gray;
- strong legs with four toes;
- bare head, similar in appearance with loggerhead;
- thick tail.
Habitat for birds the Dodo were dry, forested areas on the southern part of the island of Mauritius, where the bird has almost no natural predators. According to the scientific community, because of the lack of natural enemies, the Dodo lost its ability to fly. Previously, this fossil bird was quite possibly able to cross significant distances, but the abundance of food in the form of a vast number of fruits and total safety eliminated the need for migration.
The Dodo bird, as most of the representatives of the bird, multiplied by the fertilization of eggs. The incubation occurred within 7-8 weeks. The Dodo nest built by the male, using quality material, palm leaves, dry branches and weeds. The whole process, including the feeding of the chick, lasted for several months.
Like modern chickens and turkeys, which by mistake was considered and the Dodo, this bird swallowed stones for grinding food, that these remains were composed diet of the Dodo, which included fruit trees, buds and roots. The food chick was the same.
The Dodo belongs to the pigeon family, subfamily grantovyh. Its niche in the biological classification of the Dodo received after it was found one specimen of this species – radijski the Dodo, now extinct also due to the imbalance in the ecosystem of its habitat. The Dodo bird appearance resembles a cross between a pigeon and chicken, it is quite possible the sailors at the first contact with this animal took it for poultry.
Ornithologists of the 17th century did not immediately establish the relationship grantovyh and pigeon. At first Dodo was ranked as the ostrich, later, kites and even vultures. Even in the 19th century, scientists came to a common opinion concerning the origin of the Dodo. The first hypothesis that the Dodo is actually ground dove expressed in 1842 by the Danish zoologist Johannes Theodor Reinhardt. First theory is called ridiculous, but later supported it.
The first meeting with the people and the extinction of
For the first time the Dodo was influenced by anthropogenic factors in 1598, the year, then appeared the first documentary record about this animal. Dutch sailors landed on Mauritius, probably with the aim to replenish stocks of food and water, and then came upon a strange bird. Despite the fact that several representatives took to Europe for breeding new species of poultry, the population rapidly declined, until in 1664, the year was not diagnosed with a catastrophic reduction in the number of individuals in the natural habitat.
Poultry Dodo ate, and the long absence of any threats on the island has led to the fact that the species is not able to ensure their survival through migration. After almost 100 years since the discovery and documentation of the species of the Dodo bird was recognized as extinct.
Overall, the reasons for the extinction of the Dodo can be described thus:
- the lack of threat of natural populations and the abundance of food;
- low public attention to the problem of anthropogenic influence on various species of animals;
- the inability of representatives of the subfamily to survive in another ecosystem.
Recent scientific research of the Dodo on Mauritius was carried out in 2006, it was discovered the skeletons and carcasses of destroyed nests, where preserved fossil eggs.
Influence in the community and further the development of society
The extinction of the Dodo was the first serious signal about the devastating human impact that are directed to the public. The fact that less than 100 years human activities have led to the complete destruction of the subfamily of animals, forced to revise a separate legislation for the protection of others located on the border of extinction, candidates in minerals.
Later the Dodo bird on the coat of arms of Mauritius, thus the birthplace of the fossil birds honored the memory of the Dodo. Oxford University still has not left the genetic experiments on the cultivation of the Dodo. Scientists believe that with proper selection of Dodo can be much more profitable target for agriculture than other types of poultry. In addition, the Mauritius Dodo is a symbol of the destructive influence of man on nature.