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Dodo Bones

Dodo bones

The bones were retrieved from a marsh….. on Mauritius

The Dodo, Raphus cucullatus, was a large flightless bird, related to the pigeon, which lived only on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.

Dodos were common when the island was first discovered by Europeans. Unfortunately pigs and other non-native species, introduced by the settlers, led to the extinction of the Dodo, probably at the end of the 17th century.

The Dodo bones in the collections at Hampshire County Council Arts and Museums Service include a breast bone, a pelvic girdle and various leg and wing bones which came from more than one bird.

The bones were retrieved from a marsh at La Mare aux Songes, Mahébourg, on Mauritius in 1865 by George Clark who presented them to his friend, William Curtis, the founder of the Curtis Museum, Alton, in 1867. An account of their discovery had previously appeared in the journal Ibis (April 1866, pages 141-146).

In addition to the bones are a plaster cast foot and head. The cast of the foot was taken from an original foot which was held at the Natural History Museum.

Quick Facts

  • Accession number HMCMS:ACM1867.4
  • Found at La Mare aux Songes, Mahébourg, Mauritius
  • Collector George Clark
  • Date found 1865
  • Dodo bone date to pre 1700

Facts

  • Recent research has been carried out on dodo bones held at the Natural History Museum, the Cambridge Zoology Museum and the Oxford University Museum. The research, based on the measurements of hundreds of bones, has shown that dodos were much slimmer that the traditional images of a large ungainly bird.

Did you know?

It has been suggested that it was on his regular visits to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History that Lewis Carroll was inspired by a painting of a dodo which hangs there to include the character of the dodo in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.

Fact Sheets

More about these Dodo bones

Read about the first discovery of Dodo bones at Mare aux Songes in 1865

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