Mauritius: dodo bones found by expedition

Cylindraspis tortoise

From a press release by the dodo expedition on Mauritius island:

Discovery of lower body of Dodo, complete skeleton within reach

An international research team discovered on Mauritius an intact part of the lower body of the Dodo (Raphus Cucullatus).

The finding concerns a complete hip and four leg bones (femur, fibula, tibiotarsus and hypotarsus).

This finding suggests complete dodo skeletons must be present at the excavation location.

Besides bones of the lower body numerous other Dodo bones are found including parts of skull, beak bones, vertebrae, wing bones, toe bones and sternum.

Besides Dodo bones the research team recovered bones of the extinct giant tortoise (Cylindraspis) and bones of [yet] unidentified reptile and bird species.

Also they encountered abundant seed material of endemic trees including those of the Tambalacoque (Dodo tree).

A few specimens of this nearly extinct tree currently occur in the central part of Mauritius.

It is therefore a great surprise that these seeds occur nearby the sea at Mare aux Songes.

Mauritian and European scientists investigate how it is possible that so many bones and seeds have been so well conserved in the soil after several thousands of years and why the locality is so extremely rich in bone material.

The purpose of the current expedition is to reconstruct the world of the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) before Western man set foot on the island of Mauritius and wiped out the species.

The expedition will seek to clarify the Dodos ecotope and explain why it became extinct.

The excavation in Mare aux Songes, in the south eastern tip of Mauritius will continue to the 3rd of July 2006.

The immediate reason for this expedition was the rare find on 28 October 2005 of a completely undisturbed layer of botanic remains and bones, including Dodo fossils, on the island of Mauritius.

This material is up to 3000 years old.

There have been previous 20th-century finds of Dodo bones on Mauritius, but no-one previously sought to study the geology or ecology of these sites.


9 thoughts on “Mauritius: dodo bones found by expedition

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