Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

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Dodo – Natural History Museum, London

Dodo - Natural History Museum, London - Joy of Museums


This Dodo is a model reconstruction of a life-size Dodo from skeletal remains. The dodo is an extinct flightless bird that existed only on the island of Mauritius. The dodo was about 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) tall and may have weighed 10.6–17.5 kg (23–39 lb) in the wild. The dodo’s appearance in life is evidenced only by drawings, paintings, and written accounts from the 17th century. However, these vary considerably, and because only some illustrations are known to have been drawn from live specimens, its exact appearance in life remains unresolved.

The dodo was depicted with brownish-grey plumage, yellow feet, a tuft of tail feathers, a grey, bald head, and a black, yellow, and green beak. The dodo had historically had been considered lazy and clumsy. However, it is now thought to have been well-adapted for its ecosystem. It is presumed that the dodo became flightless because of the ready availability of abundant food sources and a relative absence of predators on Mauritius.

The first recorded mention of the dodo was by Dutch sailors in 1598. In the following years, the bird was hunted by sailors, and human-introduced predators such as dogs, cats, pigs, and rats onto the island, consumed the dodo’s eggs and chicks. The last widely accepted sighting of a dodo was in 1662. The extinction of the dodo called attention to the problem of human involvement in the disappearance of species.

The dodo achieved widespread recognition from its part in the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and it has since become a fixture in popular culture, often as a symbol of extinction and obsolescence.


  • Title:               Dodo
  • Geography:    Mauritius
  • Extinction:      1662
  • Height:           1 meter (3 ft 3 in)
  • Weight:          10.6–17.5 kg (23–39 lb)
  • Museum:        Natural History Museum, London

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“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein


Photo Credit: 1) JOM

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