, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 177–184

Dodo remains from an in situ context from Mare aux Songes, Mauritius


    • Division of Birds, National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian Institution
    • Department of GeologyNetherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis
  • Arike Gill
    • Department of GeologyNetherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis
  • Perry G. B. de Louw
    • Deltares, Department Soil and Groundwater
  • Lars W. Van Den Hoek Ostende
    • Department of GeologyNetherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis
  • Julian P. Hume
    • Bird Group, Department of ZoologyNatural History Museum at Tring
  • Kenneth F. Rijsdijk
    • Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, Computational Bio- and Physical GeographyUniversity of Amsterdam
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00114-012-0882-8

Cite this article as:
Meijer, H.J.M., Gill, A., de Louw, P.G.B. et al. Naturwissenschaften (2012) 99: 177. doi:10.1007/s00114-012-0882-8


Since 2005, excavations at Mare aux Songes, Mauritius, have revealed the presence of a very rich, ∼4,200-year-old fossil bone bed including dodo (Raphus cucullatus) bones and bone fragments. The recently excavated dodo assemblage comprises at least 17 individuals and is characterised by the presence of small and fragile skeletal elements, a dominance of leg elements and an absence of juveniles. The hydrology of the area suggests that dodos, like many other species, were probably lured to Mare aux Songes by the presence of freshwater during times of drought. The most likely scenario for the origin of the fossil deposit is that animals became trapped in the sediment in repeated miring events, which would favour the conservation of hindlimbs. Such a scenario is fully in accordance with the taphonomic characteristics of the bone assemblage.


Raphus cucullatusInsular ecosystemMare aux SongesMauritiusTaphonomy

Supplementary material

114_2012_882_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (88 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 88 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012