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Extinction in Paradise

Author: Errol Fuller

The story of the dodo is a classic of extinction equal in fascination to that of the dinosaur or the saber-toothed tiger. Unlike these, however, the dodo was the first recorded example of an extinction that was, in all probability, entirely caused by humans.

Humankind coexisted with the dodo between 1598 and 1681 and then the dodo was gone, hunted to extinction, unable to escape the new predators that arrived in ships on the isolated island later known as Mauritius. The giant pigeon, for this was what the dodo was, evolved from ancestors that had populated the island millions of years before in the Pleistocene period, when Mauritius was far adrift of where it lies today.

The pigeons colonized an island paradise abundant with food, free of any terrestrial mammalian predators.

They also lost the ability to fly, and grew bulky with sturdy running legs. For the 17th-century sailors who arrived and settled on the island, they were easy to kill and as tasty as the turtles the sailors also caught and ate. The sailors introduced domestic animals and rat as well, competitors for the dodos’ habitat.

So much about the dodo is unknown and will never be known, and yet, the dodo engenders much speculation. The Dodo: Extinction in Paradise explores the science and the mythology, the history, archaeology, and legend, as well as the dodo’s place in art and literature.

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Specific Details

Hardcover: 48 pages
Illustrated
Title: The Dodo
Author: Errol Fuller
Publisher: Bunker Hill Publishing
Date: 2004
ISBN: 1593730020
Language: English

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