Dodo – Taken For Granted

Dodo illustrated by Ravenari


Make the best of what you have. Curiosity. Leave no trace. Taken for granted. Impossible to plan for. Well known for the wrong reasons. Underestimated. Afterimage. Guesswork and misunderstanding. Stay open minded. Crystal work. The brutality of colonialisation. Be careful of disrespecting the land and the animals around you. The health of the land around you. Local ecosystems. Nothing lasts forever.


The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) is one of the most recognisable extinct birds. A large, flightless bird standing at around one metre tall, carrying a lot of bulk and related to pigeons and doves, it was once endemic to the island of Mauritius, pre-colonisation. Despite its heavy and often clumsy depiction in art, studies of its body and written reports suggest that it was agile, a swift runner and well-adapted to the dense, forested region it inhabited. Its primary habitat was likely woodland.

Because its appearance was documented from seventeenth century accounts, there is large variation in how it is depicted and described. Its exact appearance is unknown, along with its exact behaviour. However, it used stones to help digest its food, which may have included fruits. Sailors often fed it highly variable diets when transporting it, suggesting a broad diet in the world. It was driven extinct due to its availability as a food item, its inability to adapt to human predation, invasive species and deforestation. The dodo was popularised in Alice in Wonderland, it has been seen as a symbol of stupidity, obsolescence and extinction. It exemplifies the colonialist habit of the careless destruction of life and habitat.