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