A "De-Extinction" Company Wants to Bring the Dodo Bird Back to Life

Rayna Skiver - Author

Mar. 8 2023, Published 2:42 p.m. ET

Extinct Dodo Bird Reconstructed
Source: Getty Images

The dodo bird is amongst some of the most well-known animals of the past. It was slightly bigger than a turkey, had blue-gray-colored feathers, and couldn’t fly despite its small wings.

All of these features are not what made the dodo bird so widely known, though. In fact, the story of the animal's extinction is actually what many people remember it by. But why is the dodo bird extinct? Keep reading to learn all the details about its short-lived history.

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The dodo bird was native to the island of Mauritius.

Dodo Bird Illustration
Source: ISTOCK

Located in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius island served as an excellent home for dodo birds for years and years. The bird weighed about 50 pounds, had a large head, and short yellow legs, according to Britannica. Its remains can be found at various museums, both in the U.S. and Europe. Today, pigeons are the dodo bird's closest relative.

So what caused the dodo bird to go extinct?

Sadly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the dodo bird went extinct because of humans. The American Museum of Natural History explained that the bird only lasted 80 years after Dutch soldiers arrived in Mauritius. Their extinction was the result of a combination of things, mainly hunting, deforestation, and ruined nests. The museum described the dodo bird as a “lesson in extinction.”

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But it wasn’t only the soldiers causing problems for the birds, it was the animals they brought with them as well. According to Business Insider, “Pigs, dogs and rats are all animals said to have developed a taste for dodo eggs.” This introduction of new animals, in addition to the other factors, sped up their demise significantly.

Some people think dodo birds weren’t very smart. This belief stems from the fact that the birds didn’t flee from humans — they were actually quite comfortable around them. People might hear this fact and automatically think that dodo birds had no survival instincts, and that they must be too stupid to flee.

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But the real reason that these birds didn’t run from hunting humans is because they simply never had to before. Smithsonian Insider explained that before the soldiers arrived, there were no predators or carnivores on the island. In fact, dodo birds deemed the island so safe that they lost their ability to fly.

Now, hundreds of years later, a company that specializes in “de-extinction” wants to bring the dodo bird back to life. That might be what Colossal Biosciences wants, but that doesn’t mean it would be easy.

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According to Scientific American, the company would likely face many challenges, such as trying to recreate the birds behavior. A researcher at the University of Copenhagen described the problem by explaining that there is nobody who can teach a dodo bird to act like a dodo bird because we don’t actually know their true behavior.

Another challenge is that the world is very different today compared to hundreds of years ago. There’s no telling if the birds would even survive if they were brought back to life. But we never know what the future holds — maybe dodo birds will be roaming the Earth in no time.

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