Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 29th, 2011
Cryptozoological reports of the Dodo do exist. Dodos have been reported, and thus they are today cryptids. Intriguingly, 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.” If the Dodo were to be rediscovered, these phrases themselves would become obsolete. How ironic.
The following reconstruction is what Bill Munns created of the Dodo, and may be the closest illustration we have to how a living dodo looked in the wild.
The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about 3.3 feet (a meter) tall, weighing about 44 pounds (20 kilograms), living on fruit, and nesting on the ground.
The Dodo has allegedly been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century.
There is some controversy surrounding the extinction date of the dodo. Roberts & Solow state that “the extinction of the Dodo is commonly dated to the last confirmed sighting in 1662, reported by shipwrecked mariner Volkert Evertsz” (Evertszoon), but many other sources suggest the more conjectural date of 1681. Roberts & Solow point out that because the sighting prior to 1662 was in 1638, the Dodo was likely already very rare by the 1660s, and thus a disputed report from 1674 cannot be dismissed out-of-hand.
Statistical analysis of the hunting records of Isaac Johannes Lamotius give a new estimated extinction date of 1693, with a 95% confidence interval of 1688 to 1715; the last reported sighting is from the hunting records of Lamotius, who gives the year 1688, but it has been suggested that by this time the Dutch name “dodaers” had been transferred to the flightless Red Rail, which is now also extinct.
Due to travelers’ reports and the lack of good reports after 1689, it is likely that the Dodo became extinct before 1700. Sadly, the last Dodo died little more than a century after the species’ discovery in 1581.
The Dodo nicknamed “Fred.” The Natural History Museum, London, photo. No museum or collection exists that has a real Dodo taxidermy item. They all are re-creations.
This museum quality replica of the Dodo is from the company Safari Ltd.
Cryptozoologically, sightings of birds resembling Dodos have been recorded in recent years from some of the islands surrounding Mauritius. About twenty years ago, people began claiming they saw strange birds, like Dodos, on the Mauritius beaches. Reports of sightings of living Dodos in the 1990s on Mauritius prompted William J. Gibbons to mount expeditions to search for them. None were found.
Don’t let the International Cryptozoology Museum go the way of the Dodo, merely a series of sightings from the past but apparently extinct today. Donate today, please.