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Raphus cucullatus

The Dodo is one of the most emblematic and immediately recognizable creatures in the world, from its fat round body, to the distinctively bulbous, hooked beak. It even has its own catchphrase: dead as a Dodo. It is the most famous extinct species of modern times. A flightless bird (for lack of predators and bounty of food) was found only on the island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, first recorded by Dutch sailors in 1598. Less than 100 years later, it was extinct. This was due partly to the fact that, having evolved on an island free of predators, it had no fear of the humans who hunted it, nor of the animals the sailors brought with them, such as dogs, pigs and crab-eating Macaques. The flesh of the Dodo was apparently not that great, but everyone loved the eggs. The Dodo's extinction was not realized until the nineteenth century, up to which time the possibility of a species' extinction was held to be dubious science at best, and the plight of Dodo was highly significant in raising awareness of the adverse effect of humans on the ecosystem.

In the mere 90 years during which the Dodo had contact with humans, very few remains and records were preserved. There are a few paintings and drawings of the bird, but what few taxidermy mounts were made have long-since disappeared. Only a handful of museums around the world hold Dodo material, and complete skeletons are extremely rare - it is surmised that there are fewer than five in existence. The specimen in the Royal Ontario Museum, from which this superb cast was made, is complete and exemplary, and has been fully restored to ensure osteological correctness. Cast in polyurethane polymer, this skeleton exhibits the familiar, distinctive skull and beak, the voluminous ribcage, and the long legs that immediately suggest a waddling, comical gait. Also present is the large sternum which would once have been essential for flight; the shrunken wing bones, however, all too starkly evoke the bird's lost ability to escape.

A museum-quality reproduction of an extremely scarce skeleton - of one of the most emblematic species in the world - the replica is finished with an attractive dark brown patina and comes with a discrete metal base for mounting.
Measurements: 24.5 x 25.5 x 17.5 inches (62.23 x 64.77 x 44.45 cm).

Condition Report*:

Condition report available upon request.

*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

Service and Handling Description: Other (TBD) (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
October, 2013
19th-20th Saturday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 1
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 540

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