Dodo's Dna Points The Finger At Nicobar Pigeon

12th August 2012

A team led by Beth Shapiro, of Oxford University, report in today's edition of the journal Science that they have proved a long held suspicion that the dodo was a member of the pigeon family. They say they have shown that its closest relative was a bird called the solitaire, now also extinct. As relatives go, the dodo and the Nicobar pigeon are not exactly close. Their evolutionary paths diverged more than 40m years ago. Later the dodo began the fateful journey which would end with the species' extinction in Mauritius in the 17th century after the Dutch takeover of the island.

There has been speculation that the Oxford dodo could provide good enough DNA to attempt a dodo clone, but no scientist has yet managed to clone any bird.

Charles Dodgson, who wrote under the name of Lewis Carroll, was fascinated enough by the Oxford dodo to take his child muse, Alice Liddell, to see it. The dodo later appeared in chapter three of Alice in Wonderland, where he organised a race after which the bird said: "Everybody has won, and all must have prizes."

Sourced from The Gaurdian.co.uk

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