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Dodo: The Bird Behind the Legend

By: Alan Grihault

171 pages, colour photography, maps & illustrations

Imprimerie & Papeterie Commerciale Ltd

Paperback | Dec 2005 | #146548 | ISBN: 9990338159
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £16.99 $22/€19 approx

About this book

It took less than a hundred years of human influence in Mauritius to wipe out the Dodo. The delicate balance of nature was suddenly tipped and became a threat to the survival of the Dodo, which had reigned supreme on this island for thousands of years.

For nearly two hundred years after its extinction, the Dodo was forgotten, and there were some doubts as to whether it actually lived at all. It seemed that these strange birds had only been part of the imagination and exaggeration of sailors.

Today, the once remote island of Mauritius is home to over a million people of European, African, Indian and Chinese origin. It can boast of being one of the most stable democratic countries in the world and it is host to thousands of tourists who find shops full of Dodos in many forms, shapes and sizes. Yet, there is an unfortunate lack of information about this island's unique national icon.

This book allows the reader to examine various eyewitness writings, drawings, paintings and skeletal remains, which depict the Dodo as it actually was, and helps us to understand how it was driven to extinction. It also traces what happened after the final demise of the bird, and how worldwide evidence was pieced together to provide a reasonable idea of how the Dodo lived and died.

" [...] a competent and readable account for the interested layman – there is no osteology, but all other aspects are adequately covered, and every hint from the sparse historical record is milked for biological nuance in the Dodo's life."
– Anthony Cheke, IBIS October 2006



1. Mauritius, island of the Dodo
2, Early accounts
3. The last years of the dodo
4. Digging for clues
5. Dispatching live dodos
6. The muse of artists
7. What was the Dodo really like?
8. The Dodo in its habitat
9. Uncovering Dodo mysteries
10. To which family did the Dodo belong?
11. The other Dodos
12. The fictional Dodo
13. The iconic Dodo
Appendix A
Appendix B
Photography and Illustration Credits


Alan Grihault is an Englishman, who spent most of his childhood in Devonshire. He became a teacher in 1960, and during his career he has been a Teacher, Headteacher, Teacher Trainer, Headteacher and Inspector Trainer, Education Advisor, Chief Examiner and Curriculum Developer.
Alan started his teaching career in Derbyshire, and became a Headteacher in the same county. He was then appointed Education Lecturer at St. Luke's College, Exeter. While serving abroad, he was attached to the British Council, the Department of Overseas Development and European Union, and has worked in Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Botswana, Seychelles, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Vanuatu and Swaziland.
Alan married a Mauritian, and now lives in Mauritius.

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