Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mistaken Identity? Reunion Dodo?

In the excellent book review by Storrs L. Olson "ECOLOGY: Biohistory of the Mascarenes ", Science, 15 AUGUST 2008, Vol 321, No. 5891, pp. 913 - 914, reveals that the Reunion dodo (not Raphus solitarius) was not so much a dodo but actually an ibis (Threskiornis solitarius) based on the evidence available. And may have actually been derived from the sacred ibis, T. aethiopicus.

See Pieter Holsteyn's image (pictured on the right) and Pieter Withoo's image (on the left) "White Dodo's" above in our new title and description box. Olson goes on to say that there might have been a "dodolike bird" on Reunion Island, but obviously does not have the time nor space to discuss further. Was there ever a real Reunion Dodo? We may never know. But, the two very similar images by Withoos and Holsteyn rendered in approximately the same time frame do not remind us of an ibis, even though we are "laypersons". They definitely look like white Dodos, maybe not albino but leucistic.

The book in the review is "Lost Land of the Dodo" by Anthony Cheke and Julian Hume. (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2008. 480 pp. $ 55. ISBN 9780300141863. T & AD Poyser (A & C Black), London. 45 pounds. ISBN 978071366544. So, if you care to pick up further on this mystery, this is probably the book for you - or not. Olson does give an uneven, but qualified, review of the book. We haven't found our copy yet, either, and we are loathe to shell out $ 55 for the item at this time. But, it is a book we would love to have in our collection, anyway.

No comments: