1056 THE ENIGMATIC DODO
Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town
The dodo, Raphus cucullatus, has the distinction of being the first species recognised as being driven to extinction by human activity. Despite overlapping with humans for several decades, hardly anything is known about their biology. Recently several new dodo bones have been ‘discovered’, providing the exceptional opportunity to examine the microscopic structure of some of these bones. This research has provided information about how long it took dodos to grow up, differences between males and females as well as when they reproduced and when they moulted. The data derived from bone microstructure has allowed scientists to make sense of the varied historical descriptions made by early sailors. This lecture will present details about how recent research has provided unprecedented insight into the life history and ecology of this iconic extinct bird.