Raphus cucullatus

The Dodo has become a famous symbol of extinction, especially extinction caused by human activity. This flightless bird lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and was first recorded in the late 16th century by Dutch sailors. By about 1662 it had become extinct, partly through hunting, but mainly because other animals brought to the island by explorers preyed on the defenceless Dodo.

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History has the only known soft tissue remains of a Dodo – a head and a foot belonging to the last known stuffed Dodo. Recent research on this tissue has revealed that the Dodo’s closet living relative is the Nicobar pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica) from the Nicobar Islands and nearby south-east Asia.

Listen to… Malgosia Nowak-Kemp – Collections manager, Zoological Collections

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In 2013, while the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is closed to have the roof fixed, some of the exhibits have sneaked away to the town centre!
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