Credit: Julian Hume, London Natural History Museum
By Joseph Castro
The dodo bird was not the only wacky animal inhabitant of the island of Mauritius: Bad-tempered parrots, wart-faced pigeons and several other now-extinct but noteworthy indigenous animals called this land home, new research suggests.
Historians had previously identified the animals that lived on the island before Dutch settlers arrived in the 17th century, but the details about these creatures had remained largely unknown.
“There are lots of reports of the original wildlife of Mauritius,” said Julian Hume, an avian paleontologist and artist with London’s Natural History Museum. “But almost all of them only say things like, ‘This bird was easy to catch,’ and ‘It was good to eat.'”
Now, Hume’s colleague Ria Winters has discovered a report on these animals written by a Dutch settler. A translation of the report, which Winters found in the Netherlands’ National Archives in The Hague amid thousands of other yet-to-be translated documents, provides far more information about the behavior, ecology and physical appearance of the animals that once roamed the island, Hume told Live Science.
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