Monday, June 26, 2006

Bestiary :: Diverse Dodos

Dodos have had a bad rap. Sure, they’re dead – but that’s scarcely their fault. Extinction isn’t a reason for becoming a byword for failure, stupidity and supersededness.

Is it?

On behalf of MoD, I’m going to start a campaign to lobby for dodos to be the first species to be resurrected using cloning technologies. Followed by the Tasmanian Tiger natch.

I think a dodo would complement the ambience of Museum of Dust and I'm sure that they would make affectionate but low-maintenance pets.

Until recently, this would have been a pipe dream. Despite a strong pictorial record, very few specimens had been collected. Dublin's Natural History Museum had an assembled specimen. The only stuffed Dodo specimen, part of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum collection, was ordered burned by the museum's director in 1755; the foot and head were all that could be salvaged from this specimen and, until recently, were the only extant dodo soft tissue.

This all changed in October, 2005. A Dutch-Mauritian research team found a cache of over 2000 dodos’ remains in the Mare aux Songes marshland in Mauritius. They believe the finds, which include large numbers of dodos including chicks, as well as other extinct animal and plant remains, to be over 2000 years old.
Natralis, National Museum of Natural History Leinden >>
The expetition blog >>
Simple but comprehesive description of what is currently known about Raphus cucullatus on Animal Diversity Web >>
Wikkipedia dodos >>
Natural History Museum has video >>

The Dodo Blog collects material about the influence of dodos in modern culture and has lots of great pics. Living proof that there should be many more blogs about dodos.
The Dodo Blog >>

My favourite dodos have to be:
1: The lovable plockas in Jasper Fforde’s books starring role model and dodo fancier, Tuesday Next. In the interests of more convenient dodo shopping, Fforde hosts an online branch of Pete & Dave's Dodo Emporium: “Of course, it's not just dodos we deal in, it's any re-engineered species. Whether you are showing, racing or simply as a pet, Pete & Dave's has something for everyone.” Unsurprisingly, they're a little pricey. Fforde’s site is a one stop shop ffor all things Ffordian -- along with a host of special Ffeatures including ‘The Seven Wonders of Swindon’, ‘Mammoth Migration Watch’ and eToad News. It’s all sponsored by the Toast Marketing Board.
Pete & Dave's Dodo Emporium >>
Jasper Fforde’s .com >>

And 2: The dodo colony so lovingly animated by Australian Wendy Tyrer (Rood Media), for public broadcaster SBS. Wendy's animation' The Most Beautiful Chick' tells, in full sensurround colour, the heartwrenching tale of one dodo mother's struggle to accept her 'differently-aesthetically-abled' chick. Produced for 'World Tales', a project that saw 20 traditional stories from around the world interpreted by 20+ 'emerging' animators and then published on web, DVD and broadcast TV. Lots of interviews, education materials, games and extras on the site. Go and explore... but mind you stop at the dodo colony (you'll need to either do a search for 'Tyrer' or click through via European stories).
World Tales >>
Rood Media has stills and new work >>