How Owen ‘stole’ the Dodo: academic rivalry and disputed rights to a newly-discovered subfossil deposit in nineteenth century Mauritius

  title={How Owen ‘stole’ the Dodo: academic rivalry and disputed rights to a newly-discovered subfossil deposit in nineteenth century Mauritius},
  author={J.P. Hume and Anthony S. Cheke and A. McOran-Campbell},
  journal={Historical Biology},
  pages={33 - 49}
The discovery of the first fossil Dodo remains in the Mare aux Songes marsh, Mauritius, in 1865 resulted in a race to publish on the Dodo's post-cranial anatomy. George Clark, probable discoverer of the fossil site, sent consignments of bones initially to Richard Owen (British Museum), and subsequently to Alfred Newton, Cambridge, via Alfred's brother Edward, who was stationed on Mauritius. After receiving the first consignment, Owen intercepted material intended for Alfred, and abused his… 
Rediscovery of a lost Lagerstätte: a comparative analysis of the historical and recent Mare aux Songes dodo excavations on Mauritius
The Mare aux Songes (MAS), Mauritius, Mascarene Islands, is best known for the remarkable quality and quantity of macro- and micro-fossil remains, including those of the iconic Dodo Raphus
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This interdisciplinary research approach provides an ecological framework for the dodo, complementing insights on its anatomy derived from the only associated dodo skeletons known, both of which were collected by Etienne Thirioux and are the primary subject of this memoir.
Alfred Newton's contribution to ornithology: a conservative quest for facts rather than grand theories
Extremely conservative in most aspects of his life, Alfred Newton was nevertheless the first ornithologist to appreciate the significance of natural selection and constitutes an important figure in an era of ornithology that immediately precedes the current interest in field Ornithology.
University of Groningen A review of the Dodo and its Ecosystem Rijsdijk,
The dodo Raphus cucullatus Linnaeus, 1758, an extinct and flightless, giant pigeon endemic to Mauritius, has fascinated people since its discovery, yet has remained surprisingly poorly known. Until
The Morphology of the Thirioux dodos
The skeletal anatomy of two exceptional dodo specimens collected by amateur naturalist Louis Etienne Thirioux in the caves and crevasses surrounding Le Pouce supports recent reinterpretations of the dodo as a resilient bird that was well adapted to the Mauritian ecosystem.
The changing face of the dodo (Aves: Columbidae:Raphus cucullatus): iconography of the Walghvogel of Mauritius
ABSTRACT The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a large, flightless pigeon endemic to the island of Mauritius (Indian Ocean). Its unusual appearance was recorded in several 17th-century depictions of live
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The Vera Causa of Endangered Species Legislation: Alfred Newton and the Wild Bird Preservation Acts, 1869–1894
  • J. Hickling
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of the history of biology
  • 2021
The account of Newton’s campaign helps to locate Newton in the nineteenth century conservation movement, while also shining a side light on the relationship between conservation science and policy-making more generally, including the variety of voices and approaches taken to conservation in the UK and US.
The Oxford Dodo. Part 2: from curiosity to icon and its role in displays, education and research
The dissection of the head and foot and the Tradescant Dodo’s display history, from the late nineteenth century until the present day, and also its use in education are described.
Mid-Holocene (4200 kyr BP) mass mortalities in Mauritius (Mascarenes): Insular vertebrates resilient to climatic extremes but vulnerable to human impact
There will be less environmental safe-haven options for insular endemic and native vertebrates during future megadrought conditions; and therefore will be more prone to extinction, according to the generally exponential increase of combined human impacts on islands.


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There are geological reasons for believing dodos, evolving in Mauritius, would have been already flightless before Reunion emerged and hence could not have colonised that more recent volcanic island.
The Road to Albertopolis: Richard Owen (1804–92) and the Founding of the British Museum of Natural History
On Easter Monday 1881, the new Natural History Museum in South Kensington was officially opened to the public. As many as 16000 visitors crowded the spacious exhibition galleries during this first,
Richard Owen: Victorian naturalist
Owen, a "loser" in the eyes of the twentieth century, receives at last a major intellectual biography, and certain canards about Owen are effectively destroyed in Nicolaas Rupke's analysis.
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Dodo: The Bird Behind the Legend
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
Unpublished drawings of the Dodo Raphus cucullatus and notes on Dodo skin relics
The Dodo Raphus cucullatus was an endemic giant flightless pigeon from Mauritius that died out within 100 years of its discovery in 1598 (Moree 1998, Hume et al. 2004) It has become a metaphor for
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VIII. On the osteology of the solitaire or Didine Bird of the Island of Rodriguez, Pezophaps solitaria ( Gmel.)
Evidence as to the fact of the island of Rodriguez in the Indian Ocean having been formerly inhabited by a Didine bird specifically distinct from the true Dodo of Mauritius ( Didus ineptus, Linn.)