It takes an icon to be obsessed with an icon -especially a Mythbuster obsessed with a Victorian icon discovered in 1851 on a remote island off the coast of the Africa in the southwest Indian Ocean. Adam Savage describes himself as "a maker of things. I've built everything from spaceships to buddhas, from puppets to rifles, from sculptures to toys. And just about anything else you can think of."
But we bet you didn't think: Extinct Dodo Bird Replica.
In what I think is his best role since he played an army surplus store owner who sells a man a rocket engine for his pickup truck in The Darwin Awards, Savage's video (below) on his quest for a complete reconstruction of the extinct Dodo has a captivating charm and energy that makes you want to launch out on a worldwide search for Dodo bones (which cost about $20,000 a pop) to build your own model.
Here's the untold backstory to the Savage video (at end of the post) and the beginnings of what is proving to play out as the 6th great mass extinction in the history of the planet.
Savage's iconic Dodo was last seen alive on Mauritius in 1662, which was created by volcanic activity 8 million years ago. The theory is that the island was colonized by a flighted version of the bird. The bird is believed to have disappeared shortly after from hunting by Dutch settler's and vermin and dogs escaped from ships passing through. Until an expedition in 2005, only a handful of Dodo bones were found, fueling Victorian England's obsession with this curious creature following the publication of Darwin's Origin of the Species, which triggered the era's fascination with evolution and the natural world.
Dodo bones were scattered in museum's around the world: Dublin's Natural History Museum and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, among others, have a specimen assembled from these scattered remains. By the nineteenth century, the Oxford Dodo, the inspiration for the bird in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was the only surviving sample of the bird in the world. A Dodo egg is on display at the East London museum in South Africa. Until recently, the most intact remains, currently on display at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, were one individual's partly skeletal foot and head which contain the only known soft tissue remains of the species.The last known stuffed dodo had been kept in Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, but in the mid-18th century, the specimen – save the pieces remaining now – had entirely decayed and was tossed out as garbage by the museum's curator or director in or around 1755. In June 2007, adventurers exploring a cave in Mauritius discovered the most complete and well-preserved dodo skeleton ever.
Experts say that at least half of the world’s current species will be completely gone by the end of the century. Wild plant-life is also disappearing. Most biologists say that we are in the midst of an anthropogenic mass extinction. Numerous scientific studies confirm that this phenomenon is real and happening right now.
E. O. Wilson, Harvard's famed evolutionary biologist says the time has come to start calling the "environmentalist view" the "real-world view."
“Humanity doesn’t need a moon-base or a manned trip to Mars," says Wilson. "We need an expedition to planet Earth, where probably fewer than 10 per cent of species are known to science, and fewer than 1 per cent of those have been studied beyond a simple anatomical description and a few notes on natural history. At the same time, we are engaged in a genocide against those species, known and unknown; the sixth mass extinction has begun."
We don't think Savage's obsession with the Dodo is misplaced.
Posted by Casey Kazan.
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