You’re told that before the arrival of the first settlers, the island was inhabited. Does the absence of men make a place uninhabited? That’s what history tells you. What about the animals and birds living on the island then? Surely, they are to be considered Habitants of the Island.
The Mauritius Dodo, more commonly just Dodo, was a metre-high flightless bird of the island. It is currently extinct and it lived on fruit and nested on the ground. The origin of its extinction is controversed since many think that it was brought about by the Dutch, who were the first settlers, while others think that it was caused by a natural disaster which might have occurred even before the arrval of men on the island. The point is, the Dodo is extinct.
“Dodo”, such a funny name you’d think. You wouldn’t be wrong! The etymology of “Dodo” is one of controversy – the bird seems to be controversy prone.
According to Encarta, "dodo" comes from Portuguese doudo meaning "fool" or "crazy". David Quammen, author of "Song of the Dodo", points out "that 'dodo' was an onomatopoeic approximation of the bird's own call, a two-note pigeony sound like 'doo-doo'."
“Fool” or “Crazy”, the Dodo is also portrayed as a clumsy, not very intelligent bird (which is an understatement I am told!). From artists' renditions we know that the Dodo had blue-grey plumage, a 23-centimetre (9-inch) blackish hooked bill with a reddish point, very small – useless - wings, stout yellow legs, and a tuft of curly feathers high on its rear end. Dodos were very large birds – Fat - , weighing about 23 kg (50 pounds).
Of course, this is not the Dodo, this is a very dangerous dog. Please see the do below:
The last known Dodo was killed less than a centuary after the species' discovery. A Dodo egg is on display at the East London museum in South Africa. From genetical researches, it now appears that the Dodo was a close relative of pigeon species that are to be found in Africa and especially South Asia.
No one took particular notice of the extinct bird until it was featured in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). With the popularity of the book, the Dodo became a household word: "as dead as a Dodo" is a common expression – poor Dodo.
Since 2002, following “Ice Age”, directed by Chris Wedge and co-directed by Carlos Saldanha there’s been a renewal of the interest in the Dodo.
The animated movie featured Dodos at their best. Their Tae Kwon “attacks” made them memorable and movie forums have been full of questions about their origin and whether they truly existed.
Here are a couple of memorable quotes of the movie:
*Dodo: This is our private stockpile for the Ice Age. Sub arctic temperatures will force us underground for a billion, billion years.
Manfred: So you got three melons? *Dodo: If you weren't smart enough to plan ahead, then doom on you. Other Dodos: [chanting] Doom on you. Doom on you. Doom on you. Doom on... Manfred: Get away from me.
*Dodo: Tae Kwon Dodos, attack
*Dodo #1: Prepare for the Ice Age.
Dodo #2: Protect the dodo way of life.
Dodo #3: Survival separates the dodos from the beasts.
*Dodo #1: [lecturing about a crater] Now don't fall in. If you do, you will definitely...
Dodo #2: [runs in] Intruders. Intruders... oops. [trips and falls into crater]
Dodo #2: ...Burn and die.
At one point, in the French version, they sing "I believe I can Fly"!
It’s terrible though, the fate of the Dodo when you think of it. It does not occur to many but when you medidate over this you realise that the Only True Mauritian is the Dodo and it’s extinct!