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Open AccessReview

The Dodo and the Red Hen, A Saga of Extinction, Misunderstanding, and Name Transfer: A Review

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139 Hurst St., Oxford OX4 1HE, UK
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Ty Graig, Aberbanc, Llandysul, Ceredigion, Wales SA44 5NP, UK
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Quaternary 2020, 3(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat3010004
Received: 20 November 2019 / Revised: 4 January 2020 / Accepted: 14 January 2020 / Published: 18 February 2020
The chronology of observations of two extinct flightless birds in 17th century Mauritius, the dodo (Raphus cucullatus) and the red hen (Aphanapteryx bonasia), and what names or descriptions were used for them, is re-examined. It was concluded that the balance of probabilities is strongly against birds called dodaarsen without descriptions in the 1680s being dodos rather than red hens. The dodo had disappeared earlier due to predation by pigs, but a hiatus in settlement broke observational continuity, yet folklore preserved the name and transferred it to the red hen. The dodo’s extinction thus happened unobserved. View Full-Text
Keywords: Raphus cucullatus; Aphanapteryx bonasia; Mauritius; 17th century; Dutch; pigs Raphus cucullatus; Aphanapteryx bonasia; Mauritius; 17th century; Dutch; pigs
MDPI and ACS Style

Cheke, A.S.; Parish, J.C. The Dodo and the Red Hen, A Saga of Extinction, Misunderstanding, and Name Transfer: A Review. Quaternary 2020, 3, 4.

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