Research press release


Scientific Reports

Ecology: The secret life of dodos


今回、Delphine Angstたちの研究グループは、モーリシャスのさまざまな化石産地から産出した22羽のドードーの22点の骨の微細構造を調べて、ドードーの繁殖行動と成長、換羽(羽の生え変わり)の習性に関する新たな手掛かりを得た。研究対象となった骨試料のうちの数点は幼鳥のもので、Angstたちは、ドードーが性的成熟に達するまで急速に成長し、それから骨格が成熟するまでには数年を要したという見解を示している。



New insights into the life of the dodo are presented in a study in Scientific Reports this week.

Delphine Angst and colleagues examined the microstructure of 22 bones from 22 dodos from different fossil localities on Mauritius in order to gain insights into their reproductive behaviour, growth and moulting habits. Several of the bone samples studied came from juvenile birds and the authors suggest that the dodo experienced rapid growth rates until it reached sexual maturity, but thereafter took several years to attain skeletal maturity.

The authors suggest that extensive calcium resorption observed in the bones of the dodos analysed could be evidence of moulting and they propose that since moult can generate significant changes in the appearance of birds in terms of colour and feather type, this may explain many discrepancies in the descriptions of the dodo in historical accounts.

Based on their findings, which correlate with observations of modern birds in Mauritius and historical descriptions of dodos, the authors propose that the breeding season for dodos started around August, with ovulation in females. After the chicks hatched, their rapid growth then enabled them to reach a robust size to withstand the harsh conditions of the austral summer and cyclone season in the region (November to March). Following the end of the austral summer, moulting began (around March) with the replacement of the feathers of the wings and the tail first. Thus, at the end of July, the moult would have been completed in time for the next breeding season.

doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08536-3


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