Speculation, statistics, facts and the Dodo's extinction date

  title={Speculation, statistics, facts and the Dodo's extinction date},
  author={Anthony S. Cheke},
  journal={Historical Biology},
  pages={624 - 633}
  • A. Cheke
  • Published 4 July 2015
  • History
  • Historical Biology
Two recent papers claiming to offer reasons to support a late (1680s+) extinction date for the Dodo Raphus cucullatus base their arguments on information that does not in fact alter the biological and historical facts suggesting extinction on mainland Mauritius in the 1640s and on an offshore refuge in 1662. Recently accessible manuscripts indicating that the Dutch settlers in Mauritius saw no Dodos during 1664–1674 reinforce this view. 

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New historical data derived from records of hunting caches are analysed, which confirm that specimens of R. cucullatus were collected regularly for at least 26 years beyond 1662, and a new extinction date is calculated, which differs by only three years from that calculated by Roberts and Solow but which greatly narrows the confidence interval.

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Refuge‐Effect Hypothesis and the Demise of the Dodo

  • D. Roberts
  • Environmental Science
    Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
  • 2013
The island was not a refuge for the Dodo because the sighting in 1662 was not temporally isolated from that of the mainland sightings, and with only approximately 350 m separating Ile d'Ambre from the mainland of Mauritius, it is unlikely this population of Dodos was spatially isolated.

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