The Little Known History Of The Dodo Bird

The dodo bird is an iconic now-extinct flightless fowl species often stereotyped as being lazy and dumb. There are many misconceptions and rumors about the species, but not many people understand the full history of the dodo bird.

In a video by PBS Eons, Blake De Pastino walks viewers through the little known and often misunderstood history of the dodo bird.

Photo: YouTube/PBS Eons

In the video, he explains:

“Climatic instability and extreme weather events, like cyclones and droughts, were common. So the fact that dodos, as a species, were able to survive and thrive under these kinds of repeated challenges over evolutionary time meant that they must have actually been pretty resilient and well-adapted to their unpredictable home.”

Photo: YouTube/PBS Eons

He went on to explain that DNA testing and fossils have revealed “that the birds had a number of impressive adaptations for their environment. For example, they had strong legs, which would have helped them get around in their mountainous environment. And they had big skulls that housed a pretty large brain with well-developed olfactory regions, suggesting they had a good sense of smell.”

While many people believe the dodo went extinct due to its lack of intelligence, scientists believe the species simply couldn’t reproduce at a fast enough rate.

Photo: YouTube/PBS Eons

“You see, dodos had one key vulnerability that may have spelled their downfall – an Achilles heel,…They only laid one large egg at a time, and on the ground too, rather than hidden away in some treetop nest,” Pastino explained. When humans arrived in Mauritius in South Africa, they brought “a couple of very egg-hungry…pigs and rats.”

With new predators introduced in the dodo’s habitat, the birds simply couldn’t reproduce sufficiently and their numbers eventually dwindled.

You can learn more in the video below:

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