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May 20, 2011

Dodo: the archetype of extinct species (extinct since late 17th century)

The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a meter tall (three feet), lived on fruit and nested on the ground. The dodo has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century. It is commonly used as the archetype of an extinct species because its extinction occurred during recorded human history, and was directly attributable to human activity. The adjective phrase "as dead as a dodo" means undoubtedly and unquestionably dead. The verb phrase "to go the way of the dodo" means to become extinct or obsolete, to fall out of common usage or practice, or to become a thing of the past.



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