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An incredibly rare skeleton of the extinct dodo, which is scheduled to go before the auction of tomorrow and could bring in the big bucks, might exceed $750,000.
Auction house Christie’s is offering the almost complete skeleton of the bird that was once originating from Mauritius, an island east of Madagascar. The non-flying bird, a distant relative of the modern pigeon, extinct less than a century after its discovery by Dutch explorers.
“The dodo is now long extinct. Our access to the through the reports of the seventeenth-century explorers, the art produced and inspired, and the bones that our out of Mauritius,” the auction house wrote in the hope essay. “His diet, habit and call we know almost nothing, and yet it remains one of the most iconic birds ever to have lived.”
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“The nearly complete composite skeleton of fossil remains from the Mare aux Songes, and rare bones have been found by Etienne Thirioux, a Mauritian naturalist, active around the turn of the 19th century,” the lot description are added.
(Credit: CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2019)
The skeleton in the sale was composed by the French biologist Paul Carié, whose family had owned since the 19th century, the auction house added.
Offer starts at $500,000 on May 24, 11 a.m. local time and has a pre-sale range between $508,400 and $762,600.
It is often thought that the dodo birds were dimwitted or ignorant, but a 2016 study suggests that the species has no natural enemies, was actually quite intelligent.
“The [size of the brain] are not impressively large or small impressive—it is exactly the size that you would expect for their body size,” the study’s lead author, Eugenia Gold, said at the time. “So if your brain is as big as a proxy for intelligence, dodos probably had a similar intelligence level to pigeons. Of course, there is more to intelligence than just the total size of the brain, but this gives us a basis to measure.”
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Although it is extinct in 1681, the dodo was a huge bird, reaching over 3 metres in height and with a weight between 22 and 40 pounds.
However, National Geographic notes that a full description of the appearance is “difficult to determine” because there is no complete copies exist. “Most scientists believe that the dodo is grey or brown with a gray head and yellow legs,” National Geographic wrote.
It also had a 9-inch beak, which was probably used for defense and to assist in the eating of fruit, but scientists are not sure of his diet.
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