The Dodo is a species of the Raphus genus. It is endemic in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius that became extinct in the late 17th century, shortly after its 1598 discovery. It lived on a tropical island populated by only animals, but soon inhabited by people (see Lifespan)
No complete Dodo specimens exist to this day, making its external appearance, such as plumage and colouration, hard to determine. Subfossil remains and remnants of the birds that were brought to Europe in the 17th century show that they were very large birds, one metre tall, and possibly weighing up to 23 kg. Although the higher weights are all attributed to birds in captivity, some estimates give an average weight of 10.2 kg in the Dodo's natural habitat. Other estimates of natural Dodo weights have been in the range of 10.6–21.1 kg. It had a 23-centimetre bill with a hooked point. A study of the few remaining feathers on the Oxford specimen head showed that they were plumaceous rather than vaned. The sternum was insufficient to support flight and the wings were very small. These features have been argued to indicate paedomorphosis.
Little is known of the behaviour of the Dodo, as most contemporary descriptions are very brief. Studies of the cantilever strength of its leg bones indicate that it was able to run quite fast.
The Dodo likely subsisted on fallen fruits, nuts, seeds, bulbs and roots. It probably used gastroliths, or stomach stones (gastro meaning stomach, and lith meaning stone) to aid in digestion.
The dodo was a friendly bird. So friendly that it let people lead it to extinction.