The near-complete skeleton of a dodo bird is up for auction at Christie’s, with estimates expecting it to sell up to over $750,000. Apart from being a curious find, the dodo bird’s remains shares a message about humanity’s impact on the planet’s animal life.
Dodo Bird Skeleton Up For Auction
Despite already being extinct for centuries, the dodo bird remains to be an iconic creature. Only 26 institutions all over the word have significant dodo remains, but someone might have a remnant of the iconic bird for their own soon, as a near-anatomically-complete skeleton of a dodo bird is now up for auction and is expected to fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The bones were found by Mauritian naturalist Etienne Thirioux at around the turn of the 19th century and was completed by French amateur scientist Paul Carié, who actually owned the land in Mauritius where most of the bones were collected from. The specimen is the very last known privately owned sample from the 19th century that is almost complete. In fact, it was one of Carié’s most prized possessions that was passed down to his family since.
Other items up for auction are a wood and iron sculpture of a dodo bird, an intact elephant bird egg, and a megalodon tooth.
Human Impact On Dodo Extinction
Dodo birds have the unfortunate reputation of being quite dim, but in fact the reason why they appeared to be clumsy and unintelligent was because they had no natural predators and were therefore unafraid of the people when they came. Further, a recent study suggested that they are actually as smart as their relatives, the modern-day pigeons, and can remember human faces.
“This isn’t just a rare and intriguing curiosity, but represents what humans are doing to animal life on the planet,” say broadcaster Liz Bonnin and specialist James Hyslop.
Sure enough, the first recorded contact between humans and dodo birds was in 1598, when Dutch sailors came to Mauritius, and less than a century later the birds had become extinct. Apart from being killed by human hunters, the dodo birds also met their demise upon the introduction of invasive predators such as rats. This shows just how quickly a species can be completely wiped out if humans are not careful and mindful of their actions.