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Historical Events  Science
London Bridge

What made the dodos extinct?

MMDE: Humans ate them

Current: Humans introduced animals which ate their eggs and food

The poor dodo lived for many thousands of years on its island paradise of Mauritius, where it had no natural predators. This meant being flightless was not a problem, but unfortunately this was it's downfall, because within 100 years of humans settling, it was extinct. The widely agreed date for this extinction is 1681.

The popular idea is that humans ate them, and this myth is so widespread it comes as quite a surprise to many to find out it's meat was terrible to eat, and this wasn't the cause of their extinction. In fact it was down to the pigs, rats and even monkeys which humans introduced to the island which then went and ate the eggs, and competed for food, of the birds. 

Not eaten

It's a little known fact that the dodo wasn't the only bird made extinct by the human settlers. Large areas of land were converted to tea and sugar plantations, eliminating the natural habitat of many other birds. Of the 45 species which were present originally, now only 21 remain.

There is actually a report the Dodo may not be extinct - a close relative, more akin to a large flightless pigeon, has been pointed to for evidence of this