Bones reveal what it was like to grow up dodo | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Bones reveal what it was like to grow up dodo

Cutting into precious bone specimens gives clues to the extinct birds’ life and times

7:00am, August 29, 2017
dodo illustration

SUMMER OF DANGER  Mother and chick dodos, illustrated here, needed to eat well and get healthy before the stressful cyclone season, according to a new reconstruction of the extinct bird’s life.

Dumb extinction jokes aside, dodos’ life history is largely unknown.

Now the first closeup look inside the long-gone birds’ bones is giving a glimpse into their lives, an international research team reports August 24 in Scientific Reports. Until now, almost nothing has been known about the basic biology of dodos, such as when they mated or how quickly they grew.

Based on 22 bones from different birds and weather patterns on the island Mauritius where the birds lived, scientists worked out how bones change as birds grew up. With this information, the team proposes a month-by-month dodo to-do list. For August: Start breeding. That’s the end of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, where Mauritius lies. Chicks would hatch in spring and grow in a rapid spurt before summer, proposes study coauthor Delphine Angst, a paleontologist at the University of Cape Town in South

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content