In defence of the slim dodo: a reply to Louchart and Mourer-Chauviré

  title={In defence of the slim dodo: a reply to Louchart and Mourer-Chauvir{\'e}},
  author={Delphine Angst and Eric Buffetaut and Anick Abourachid},
Louchart and Mourer-Chauviré (2011) question our method of estimating the mean mass of the dodo by claiming that tibiotarsus and tarsometatarsus lengths cannot be used for such mass estimates “because different bird species of the same weight can show considerable differences in the lengths of these two bones”. This is indeed obvious from the graphs published by Zeffer et al. (2003), which we have used in our paper, but those graphs also show differences in femur length for the same body mass… 
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A new mass estimate for the dodo (Raphus cucullatus), based on the lengths of the femur, tibiotarsus and tarsometatarsus, is attempted and seems more realistic than previous ones and supports the hypothesis that contemporary illustrations of extremely fat dodos were either exaggerations, or based on overfed specimens.
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All aspects of the dodo's ecological history, contemporary accounts and illustrations, importation of specimens and fossil record are examined, and evidence is provided to suggest that many conclusions based on the available data are problematic.
The relationship of hindlimb bone dimensions to body weight in birds
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On the external appearance of the dodo, Raphus cucullatus (L, 1758)
Order Columbiformes, family Columbidae
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