(Portuguese: doudo, literally, "stupid")

Perhaps we should re-evaluate who was really "stupid"; the birds or the people who allowed the complete extinction of the birds to take place

An illustrators concept of what the dodo looked like.

Etymologically, dodo is said to come from Portuguese doudo, literally "a fool", "simpleton", or "stupid"; and is applied to people as an adjective meaning "foolish", "silly", or "stupid".

Dodos became extinct in Mauritius during the 1680s, only 80 years after man discovered the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Although sailors may have eaten many of the birds, which have been described as having been somewhat larger than a turkey and with a large hooked bill, they are believed to have become extinct because of introduced predators (pigs, for example) and habitat destruction by people. Now we have the expression "dead as a dodo".

Many people apparently know about the death of the dodo, but no one knows much about its life. The origins of the dodo are mysterious. Studies of its DNA indicate that it descended from pigeons.

Once on the island of Mauritius, dodos followed the same evolutionary path that other birds have taken on other islands; such as, Madagascar and Hawaii. They became stocky and flightless as they adapted to feeding on plants. Within a few million years, these birds turned into the avian equivalent of pigs and goats.

Dodos may have thinned the Mauritius forests, and some plants may have come to depend on them to spread their seeds.

One of the brighter aspects of recent history indicates that some human beings are now desperately trying to save various endangered species, although considering the increase in the populations of humans and the space they are always occupying and their continuous acquisition of natural resources, this may be a losing battle.

Another illustrators concept of what the dodo looked like.

Historical background about the dodo. Access the stup- (stupid) unit of words.