Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

New Insights into the Paleobiology of the Dodo presented

6 November 2014

Researcher Kenneth Rijsdijk from UvA-IBED and colleague’s will present new insights of the evolving of the extinct dodo at the Conference of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology on Thursday 6 November. These insights are obtained bij 3-d laser surface scans taken from dodo skeletons.

A complete dodo skeleton, found by an amateur collector on the island of Mauritius more than a century ago, has remained unstudied, even though it is the only complete dodo skeleton from a single individual bird known to exist (all other skeletons are incomplete composites).

In detail

Rijsdijk and others created 3-D laser surface scans from these unique, fragile dodo skeletons, This enables the researchers to examine the biology of this enigmatic extinct bird in detail for the first time. Using the newest digital tools and techniques, the scans provide an insight into how the flightless dodo (Raphus cucullatus) may have evolved its giant size, and how it walked and lived in its forest home.

These insights will be presented at the Conference of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Berlin from 5-8 November 20146.


Kenneth Rijsdijk: “There are still many lessons we can learn from the life and death of the dodo. Being able to examine the skeleton of a single, individual dodo, which is not made up from as many individual birds as there are bones, as is the case in all those other composite skeletons, truly allows us to appreciate the way the dodo looked and see how tall or rotund it really was.”

Published by  Faculty of Science