Dodo

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{language, word, form}
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{theory, work, human}
{island, water, area}
{country, population, people}
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{black, white, people}
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The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a meter (3.3 feet) tall, weighing about 20 kilograms (44 lb), living on fruit, and nesting on the ground.

The dodo has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century.[1] It is commonly used as the archetype of an extinct species because its extinction occurred during recorded human history and was directly attributable to human activity.

The phrase "dead as a dodo" means undoubtedly and unquestionably dead, whilst the phrase "to go the way of the dodo" means to become extinct or obsolete, to fall out of common usage or practice, or to become a thing of the past.

Contents

Discovery and etymology

The first known descriptions of the bird were made by the Dutch. They called the Mauritius bird the walghvogel ("wallow bird" or "loathsome bird") in reference to its taste. Although many later writings say that the meat tasted bad, the early journals only say that the meat was tough but good, though not as good as the abundantly available pigeons.[2] The name walgvogel was used for the first time in the journal of vice-admiral Wybrand van Warwijck, who visited the island in 1598 and named it Mauritius.

The etymology of the word dodo is unclear. Some ascribe it to the Dutch word dodoor for "sluggard", but it more likely is related to dodaars ("knot-arse"), referring to the knot of feathers on the hind end. The first recording of the word dodaerse is in captain Willem van Westsanen's journal in 1602.[3] Thomas Herbert used the word dodo in 1627,[4] but it is unclear whether he was the first; the Portuguese had visited the island in 1507, but, as far as is known, did not mention the bird. Nevertheless, according to the Encarta Dictionary and Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, "dodo" derives from Portuguese doudo (currently doido) meaning "fool" or "crazy".[5][6] However, the present Portuguese name for the bird, dodô, is taken from the internationally used word dodo.

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