A rare skeleton of the Dodo went on display in the Atrium at World Museum Liverpool today. The specimen is made up of bones found on Mauritius and has been in the collection since 1866, however it's not been on display for at least 40 years. The skeleton is on display for about a month as part of the museum’s popular Hidden Treasures series of displays featuring items rarely seen by the public.
Dr Clem Fisher, curator of vertebrate zoology, says: “The skeleton is quite complete although we have recently discovered that the foot bones have been skilfully carved from wood.” The Dodo is also missing the top of its head (cranium).
The Dodo was a member of the pigeon family that lived on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Unfortunately it was also a rather tasty and flightless member so fell foul of the human and animal population. It's been extinct for more than 300 years with the last reliable sighting in about 1693. When alive they were rather large birds standing about three feet (one metre) tall and weighing around 50 pounds (about 23kg). They had grey plumage, a nine-inch beak with a hooked point, tiny wings and a tuft of curly rear feathers.