Why did the dodo die out?

In popular culture the dodo is always painted as a stupid bird that was bound for extinction, but that is far from the truth. In reality it was the introduction of new animals to the island of Mauritius that sealed the naive dodo’s fate.

The dodo was a well armoured bird that did extremely well on its native island of Mauritius, where it had no natural predators. When people began to arrive on the island the dodo did not flee because it had not evolved to be afraid, so they could be easily approached or captured.

Another myth is that Dutch sailors visiting Mauritius found the dodo so delicious that they ate every single one, but records from the time suggest that dodo meat was bland and tough.

They weren’t stupid or tasty, but they still died out and the truth lies in the breeding habits of the dodo. As Mauritius was safe from predators these birds laid their eggs on the ground, and when visiting humans introduced pigs to the island’s ecosystem the dodo was done for. These pigs ate the eggs found in the dodo nests and sadly, their population never recovered.

 

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Image from commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File/dodo