The dodo on display

A little off kilter for a normal Musings post, but with me being on holiday anything might be a welcome release for those of you who are desperate, simply *desperate* for a bit of Archosaur goodness to fill in the vacant hours till I start blogging properly again. Still, this is an extinct theropod so it’s not too off topic. Here are various image of the dodo as painted and drawn by various artists over the years. I’m afraid I did not take the names and dates down as I was mostly interested in the variety on show. While some are clearly more accurate than others, they are all obviously dodos at heart and as much a product (I suspect) of differing techniques and styles as the varied ability and information available to the artists (I suspect not all have ever seen one). All are photos of originals or prints on display at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (more to come from there) as part of their celebrations of their 150th anniversary, home as they are, to some of the few dodo remains anywhere.

5 Responses to “The dodo on display”

  1. 1 Zach Miller 14/06/2010 at 11:45 am

    The underlying theme here seems to be that the dodo is an ugly, ugly bird.

  2. 2 Allen Hazen 14/06/2010 at 12:53 pm

    All but the last seem to be attempts (on the basis of who knows what information, since, as you remark, the artists may never have seen one) to portray living birds– the bottom one, however, looks like a drawing of a mummified (and maybe de-feathered) corpse… so perhaps it is the one most likely to have been drawn from an actual specimen!

    The extra ?? knob? bump? lobe? ?? near the tip of the beak is reminiscent of pigeons. Is this coincidental, or is this … protuberance … one of the traits that led to the Dodo’s assignment to Columbiformes?

  3. 3 Lord Dodo 14/06/2010 at 4:07 pm

    Good morning!

    What wonderful images…but please note that this particular Dodo is very much alive and flourishing in deepest Cornwall. Also to be found on and in desk diaries, calendars and organisers dodeveloped to bring amusement and aid organisation to users all over the world.

    Ugly? I hope not…

    I would be interested to show some of these illustrations on a page linked to this one if you would be so kind as to respond:


    • 4 David Hone 14/06/2010 at 4:54 pm

      “I would be interested to show some of these illustrations on a page linked to this one if you would be so kind as to respond:”

      Well I really can’t offer them to be honest. The museum owns the originals and may or may not own the copyright to them. I might, therefore, be in breach of copyright posting them, but I think I can argue fair use since this is supposed to be educational (if a bit fluffy) and the museum had no apparent rules on photography or publication. Nevertheless, you should really contact the museum and ask for copies of their images or go and see them yourself to take you own photos.

      Sorry i can’t be more help, but I don’t want to cause them, or me, or you any problems.

  4. 5 Alan 15/06/2010 at 3:12 am

    I gather that the DNA work which placed Nicobar pigeon Caloenas as the Dodo’s closest living relative has been called into question, but the Dodo seems to belong with the Asian fruit pigeons. As a small tropical island terrestrial pigeon, Caloenas makes a pretty good model for a Dodo ancestor though.

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