BBC Learning Zone Clips

CLIP 11272

Why Did the Dodo Become Extinct? (audio)

Why Did the Dodo Become Extinct? (audio)
Key Info
  • Why Did the Dodo Become Extinct? (audio)
  • Duration: 08:59
  • Using contemporary accounts from sailors and naturalists, this report investigates the reasons for the sudden extinction of the dodo. The dodo was a flightless bird and the accounts describe its strange appearance. Author Errol Fuller talks about how the dodo might have evolved to such a large size as there were no large predators on the island and plentiful food. Sailors on long journeys ate the dodo when they arrived at the island, and animals brought on the ships also hunted and ate dodo eggs. It is believed that the sudden arrival of these predators is what led to the bird's extinction. A last sighting of a small dodo colony was described by a ship-wrecked sailor, who caught and ate the birds in desparation. Victorian society was fascinated by the fate of the dodo, Lewis Carroll was inspired to add a dodo to his novel 'Alice in Wonderland'. This clip from 'Witness' is published on the World Service website: and was first broadcast on 29 October 2010. Please note this is an audio clip and only available in Flash.
  • Subject:

    Citizenship and Modern Studies


    Environment and Sustainability

  • Keywords: extinction, hunted, endangered, wildlife, evolution, bioloy, birds, dodo, islands, environment, history, endangered species, Mauritius, food chain, Witness
Ideas for use in class
  • Could be linked to the evolution vs intelligent design debate. Would make an excellent starter to a topic of work on the environment and biodiversity. Use as material to debate for critical thinking and enquiry, and the challenges facing the global community. Use to inspire investigation into endangered species today - which animals are endangered and what is causing their numbers to decrease?
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

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