More Than Meets the Eye

How the Dodo Became Extinct
The dodo is an extinct flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius.
The dodo is an extinct flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius.
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So, we all know about the dodo “the flightless bird” but do you know the real story of the dodo? It began about 140 million years ago when Pangea started to break apart and pieces formed what is now Africa. That large mass of land broke into 2 pieces forming  Madagascar and India. In a few million years India wanted to be nowhere near Madagascar and shot up to Asia at the supersonic speed of (drumroll please)…. 16 cm per year! Now this is relevant because when India shot up into Asia it made an underwater mountain range called the Mascarene Plateau. One of the islands near the plateau is Mauritius where the entire dodo population exclusively lived ( but that hasn’t happened yet. Right now it is just a very big rock.) After a few hundred years of strong ocean winds some plants made it onto the island and then the biggest moment in dodo history – a flock of the ancient ancestors of the dodo and the pigeon landed on the island. What they saw was a paradise and they said, “Let’s just stay here for the next 4 million years!” So they did and evolved  from a  pigeon-like bird to the massive dodo due to a phenomenon known as island gigantism. Then some humans started to settle on the island. The first ones to make a real impact on the island were the Dutch. When the Dutch came to the island they started to hunt the dodo. But the humans were not their biggest concern, it was what they brought with them –  the animals. They brought cats, dogs, rats, and even monkeys and soon most of these animals worked together to kill the dodo. So when the Dutch ships came onto the island their dogs saw nothing but defenseless massive walking meat bags… so whilst the dogs were eating an all you can eat dodo buffet, the rats were eating all the dodo eggs. Of course, the dodos did nothing. So they couldn’t reproduce, and they are all getting eaten. Things can’t get worse for them, right? Wrong. After a few years the Dutch realized that the island is covered in hardwood trees and trees mean wood and wood means money, so they started stripping the island of all  its wood and in a few years the island lost most of its resources. When the Dutch saw no more profit in the island, they left and the entire dodo population was  stranded on an island with no food and they slowly died.

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