Scientists want to resurrect the mysterious dodo bird: extinct hundreds of years ago

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Scientists want to use a small number of dodo fossils for their project

The dodo was made famous by Lewis Carroll, who chose it as one of the characters in his story "Alice in Wonderland". Meanwhile, it is not an imaginary creature at all, its prototype was a flightless extinct bird of the Mauritian dodo. And now there are enthusiasts who have decided to revive this creature with the help of modern technology.

According to Ancient Origins, the Texas-based company Colossal Biosciences found the enthusiasts. And that is why they are interested in this bird.

History of the dodo bird

The scientific name of the bird was the Mauritian Dodo. It was a flightless woodland bird up to one meter tall and weighing up to 20 kg. The species is thought to have originated millions of years ago in Southeast Asia. And after the sea level rose, it became isolated in Mauritius, where it lost its vigilance in the absence of natural enemies.

Dodo first saw humans in the 16th century, when the Portuguese landed on the island, which at the time had no human settlement. According to some versions, they gave the bird the name dodo from the Portuguese word doido, which means "fool. Allegedly because of the extreme trustworthiness of these creatures. After centuries of existence without significant threats, they were not afraid of humans at all, in addition, they were slow and did not fly - the need to develop these qualities they did not have. And sailors almost immediately began to hunt big birds.

A combination of reasons most likely led to the extinction of the species. In addition to exterminating the dodo as such, humans settling in Mauritius also began to destroy their habitat and introduced dangerous predators to the island. Also, dodos were very slow to reproduce - they laid only one egg at a time. Scientists believe that the extinction of this species was the first recorded extinction caused by human activity.

It is known that the last such bird was seen in Mauritius around the end of the 17th century. And in the 18th century, they moved into the category of fictional creatures along with mermaids and unicorns. To date, there is no unified description of the species, because few samples of their remains have been found, and the scientific data at the time of the disappearance of the species was not collected very carefully.

What scientists want to do

Colossal Biosciences, a gene-editing company, announced in January 2023 that it plans to try to revive Mauritian dodos. To do so, they want to use ancient DNA sequencing technology, gene editing and the principles of synthetic biology. The researchers refer to the dodo as a symbol of extinction at the hands of man.

The company has previously stated its intention to revive the woolly mammoth. Not all colleagues share Colossal Biosciences' enthusiasm for this, calling their plans "fairy science. However, the researchers themselves claim that these initiatives raise public awareness and help fund research on endangered species and conservation principles.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL wrote about the largest living organism in the world almost 14 thousand years old, which was in danger of extinction.

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