Dodo DNA

by Harry Miller December 17, 2019

 

If you sail due east from central Madagascar you should reach the tropical paradise known as Mauritius, but please note, if you manage to miss Mauritius you won’t see land for a further 4000 miles, and when you do it’ll be Australia (eventually), so make sure you have an experienced captain.  

Maybe flying’s the best option: after all, one of their most famous inhabitants flew there - albeit thousands of years ago - and they liked it so much they stayed for good! 

Now, if we think Mauritius is a paradise, then the famous flying visitor I talk of must have thought it was truly Nirvana.  Their favourite food, fruits and nuts, were freely available on the ground, and with no predators on the islands there was no more need for wings.

Over many years the bird grew large in size and lost the ability of flight altogether; scientists call this phenomenon ‘secondary flightlessness’ - the same fait happened to penguins, ostriches, and chickens.  If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m talking about the sad tale of the extinct Dodo.  

It was the Dutch who decided to commit to this paradise in the 1600’s, and they named it after their head of state, Maurice.  It is suggested that they also named the large flightless bird they encountered “dodoor”, which unflatteringly means sluggard.      

Accounts of the Dodo suggest they were relatively fearless of man: after all, they had never experienced them before, and many would have inquisitively walked towards their doom; although it is said that the human settlers were mostly put off by the taste of their meat, and so thankfully the dodo didn’t die out from us dining out.  

It was in fact the other beasts that travelled with man which finished off the Dodo, the rats and the pigs, for they didn’t just eat fruits and nuts, they also ate dodo eggs.  Unfortunately being flightless meant that the dodo nests could easily be found on the ground, and to add insult to injury they only laid one egg at a time.   

It’s a tragic story, but amazingly there might be glimmer of hope for the dodo - albeit with ethical considerations - as the bird is officially on the de-extinction list.  All we need is some dodo DNA, some scientific wizardry, and a surrogate mother: which is where the Nicobar Pigeon steps in, the closest living relative to the dodo - who’ll be relieved to hear that there won’t be any giant egg laying involved!  




Harry Miller
Harry Miller

Author



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News / Work in progress / Mythology

Easter Bunny From East Yorkshire

by Daniel Mackie March 30, 2020

How about this!  Katie Brown from East Yorkshire has made a wonderful drawing using one of my designs as inspiration. I love it! Keep up the good work Katie. I really like the composition and the little bugs flying around on the other

Read More

Whale repeat pattern in progress

by Daniel Mackie March 29, 2020

Whales repeat pattern in progress- The DM Collection

I have been meaning to come back to doing a repeat pattern for a while. I did some of some swallows years ago when I first stared the DM Collection.

Read More

Dreamtime Magic- Koodor

by Harry Miller March 26, 2020

Kola bear -  koodor Daniel Mackie

Way way back, at the very very beginning, there was a mystical place known as Dreamtime where the Aboriginal ancestors of Australia created the entire world.  It was here where an orphan named Koobor lived

Read More