The famous dodo that inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland might have had a different end than it was previously believed. The Oxford Dodo is the best example of the extinct bird, it’s very well preserved and it still has some soft tissue that could be used to bring back to life the species.
The dodo was found in Mauritius by the MP Sir Hamon L’Estrange, who saw the bird in 1638. It was a ‘strange fowle’, which was later brought to London as an exotic curious bird. After naturally dying, it remained in London in the collection of John Tradescant, then it passed to Ashmole who founded Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. In 1860 it was moved to the Oxford University of Natural History.
Now researchers at the University of Warwick had to scan the head of the dodo for a different reason, but they found the most peculiar fact: the skill of the bird had pellets inside, meaning that it was shot!
The bird’s skull had lead pellets, which were used to hunt birds in the 17th century. Either the bird was brought to Britain alive and then it was shot, or it was brought there already dead.
Director of Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Professor Paul Smith said:
“If it was shot in London, why? And if it was shot in Mauritius, how did they preserve the specimen?”
The dodo species was discovered in 1598 by the Dutch, but by 1662 it was declared extinct. First, it was believed that they died off because of the hunters. But then history got revised and it was the dogs and rats from the ships that ate the birds’ eggs. Now, looking at the dodo’s head full of pellets, it shows that the birds were indeed game for hunters.
Who Killed the Dodo?
One of the researchers that were looking to scan the bird’s head to learn more about the bird, Prof Mark Williams, said that:
“When you are carrying out investigative research, you never quite know what you are going to find.”
Prof. Smith explains how they’re going to find ‘who’ killed the dodo. They will make some chemical analysis of the orefield of the lead and find where the lead was mined from. After that, they could know the country the shot was made, and probably find out “who killed the dodo.”
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere