The Dodo went from being newly discovered to extinction in less than a hundred years. The flightless, odd-looking bird was seen for the first time by Europeans and then annihilated by Europeans in the course of the seventeenth century. And by the end of the nineteenth century, all that remained of what Portuguese explorers called the Acrazy birdA was a patchwork of tall tales, contradictory reports, incompatible illustrations, and fragments of feather and bone. The dodo had become, in short, an unsolvable puzzle, but a puzzle that persisted in art, literature, and scientific speculation.]Best-selling author Clara Pinto-Correia, in following the birdAs re-creation, shows in this remarkable book how the human intellect and the human imagination prey on sketchy facts and images, how missing pieces and incomplete lines are merged and fused to make a cohesive whole. By considering the incredibly strong hold of this bumbling, ungainly, and ill-fated creature on our collective scientific and literary imagination, Pinto-Correia teaches us not just about the ill-fated bird from the island paradise of Mauritius, but about our own abiding need to make sense of the world around us.]Clara Pinto-Correia is the author of the best-selling The Ovary of Eve. She has taught in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; served as a research assistant at Harvard University in the Museum of Comparative Zoology; and is currently Professor and Director of the Masters Degree Program in Developmental Biology at the Universidade Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Lisbon, Portugal.
From the reviews:
"Pinto-Correia recounts the history of the dodo, both as a biological specimen and as an enduring subject of cultural history and lore."
SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE
"The Dodo went from being newly discovered to extinction in less than a hundred years. ... Clara Pinto-Correia, in following the bird's re-creation, shows in this remarkable book how the human intellect and the human imagination prey on sketchy facts and images, how missing pieces and incomplete lines are merged and fused to make a cohesive whole." (FirstScience.com, April, 2003)
"Pinto-Correia skillfully weaves the tale of the discovery, exploitation, and extinction of the dodo and the closely related Rodrigues and Reunion Solitaires of the Mascarene Islands. ... the author has produced a readable, sometimes fascinating, history of the multiple discoveries of the islands by European nations. ... A thoroughly researched, footnoted, and readable book. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels." (S.W. Harris, CHOICE, June, 2003)
"Pinto-Correia presents an excellent history of one of the most famous extinct birds, the dodo, and the two allied species found only in the Mascarene Islands ... . Delving knowledgeably into history, art, folklore, and biology, this is a fine, readable account of the vulnerability, everywhere, of island life forms. Highly recommended." (Henry T. Armistead, Library Journal, February, 2003)