The 300-year-old mystery regarding the fate of the Oxford Dodo bird has now been solved, thanks to a team of scientists from the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick in England.
Unraveling The Mystery
The team was given rare access to two pieces of the Oxford Dodo's exoskeleton from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The education institute has had both the Oxford Dodo's head and foot for more than 300 years. Based on their study, the Oxford Dodo was the only dodo specimen in the world that contained soft tissue and extractable DNA.
One of the team's crucial findings is that the bird did not die of natural causes. With the use of micro-computer tomography scanners, the Warwick Manufacturing Group found several uncanny markings in the dodo's skeleton. According to the scientists, those markings were of lead bullets which were used to hunt fowl in 17th-century England. With the discovery of the bullets, the team concluded that someone shot the Oxford Dodo in the neck and at the back of its head.
Before researchers found out about the Oxford Dodo's tragic end, the dodo bird starred in a few news stories in this decade. A rare composite skeleton of the extinct bird was sold at West Sussex, England. The skeleton came from a collector that pieced together the bones that he purchased at auctions and private collections throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Scientists also analyzed a Dodo bird's skull and revealed that it had a heightened sense of smell. In another study, a research team discovered that the Dodo bird was smarter than many people realized and actually shares intelligence with a pigeon.
The Dodo's Numerous Ties
Historians noted that humans first interacted with the Dodo bird in 1598 when Dutch explorers encountered the bird during an expedition. However, the elusive bird became extinct in 1662. Scientists believe that the habitat loss, hungry sailors, and animals eating their eggs led to the creatures being wiped out.
John Tradescant the Elder took one of the Oxford Dodos from its native home, Mauritius, which is near the Indian Ocean to London, England in the 1600s. Tradescant the Elder put the dodo bird in a part of a public collection and gave countless people the opportunity to not only gaze at it but also interact with the bird through feeding.
Poet and author Lewis Carroll was inspired by the dodo that he put the bird into one of his stories. In 1865, he introduced his readers to the Dodo in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.