sábado, 24 de abril de 2010
Nobody overcomes the king of the monsters, the formidable Tyrannosaurus rex wich means ''king of the tyrants lizards''.It lived throughout what is now western North America, with a much wider range than other tyrannosaurids. Fossils are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the last three million years of the Cretaceous Period, approximately 68 to 65 million years ago. It was among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist prior to the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event.
sexta-feira, 23 de abril de 2010
The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a meter (3 feet) tall, weighing about 20 kilograms (44 lb), living on fruit, and nesting 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 phrase "dead as a dodo" means undoubtedly and unquestionably dead, whilst the 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.
The dodo existed when the cameras didn't. So, for long human beings had to depend upon the paintings and written descriptions of this bird provided by the early naturalists, explorers and the 17th century European painters. The paintings by European artists which became more popular than the early drawings, depicted the bird as being 3 feet tall and quite robust. However, credibility of these paintings is now largely doubted due to the trend of exaggeration in depicting animals and birds that was prevalent in Europeans arts during 17th century. Until 2007, only fragments of dodo skeleton were available. However, with the discovery of a complete skeleton by some adventurers in a cave in Mauritius in the 2007, it has now being estimated that the bird did stand about 3 feet tall and weighed somewhere around 44 pounds. As per these statistics, the bird was definitely big, but surely not as overweight as was portrayed by the European painters. The bird is known to have a 9 inch long bill with pointed hook, grayish plumage, yellow legs, small wings and a tuft of small feathers towards its hind quarters.
The dodo birds were perfectly evolved for their environment. What led to their extinction is again the old story, i.e human activity. The dodo birds had never been threatened on their native land. This made them lack any caution when they first saw humans. They did not run away from human beings or the cats, dogs and pigs that the earliest settlers brought to the island. This made them easy prey for the animals. Their vulnerability was further exposed due to the fact that they built their nests on the ground. In fact, a number of different types of birds have been wiped out from the face of this earth because they built nest on the ground. Although, it is believed that large scale hunting of the bird is also one of the causes of its extinction, many scholars today refute this hypothesis. It is because, in many reports of the early settlers and explorers, the bird meat has been said to be tough and not very palatable. But it is for sure it is human activity, either direct or indirect, that is responsible for the extinction of this bird.
In popular culture:
The dodo became famous just because the book of the Lewis Caroll "Alice in wonderland",but it was not only that, we can see the Dodo in:
- The documentary Extinct (2001)
- Animated short film Porky in wackyland (1938)
- The pc game Zoo tycoon 2 extinct animals (2007)
- The film Alice in wonderland (1951)
- Again in the Tim burton movie Alice in wonderland (2010)
- The book The last dodo (2007)
- Tv commercial 5 alive dancing dodo (2010)