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The dodo (Latin: Raphus cucullatus, Dutch: doedaars), sometimes called a didus or "didus ineptus," (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible) was a type of large, flightless pigeon that was found only on Mauritius. (PROSE: The Last Dodo) According to the First Doctor, it was well known for its extinction. (COMIC: The Didus Expedition) Nevertheless, several "last Dodos" were known to have existed — all of whom the Doctor encountered at one point or another; one of them was kept in his TARDIS. (PROSE: Echo)
The last dodo was saved and kept in the Museum of the Last Ones. This specimen was cloned by Eve and used to plant bombs on Earth which would destroy the planet. The original dodo was returned by the Tenth Doctor to Mauritius. Although Martha Jones did not understand why, the Doctor had named the bird "Dorothea," a reference to his former companion, Dorothea "Dodo" Chaplet. (PROSE: The Last Dodo) Ironically, according to one account of her early history, the companion was in turn nicknamed after the bird by classmates who thought her stupid. (PROSE: Salvation)
On Earth, the last known stuffed Dodo was kept in the British Museum by the Royal Society for almost a century, but it eventually deteriorated and was incinerated in 1755. (COMIC: Bêtes Noires & Dark Horses)
In later centuries, the expression "dead as a dodo," referring to their extinction, was common. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy, AUDIO: The Wrath of the Iceni, Love and War, The Forgotten Village, Criss-Cross)
Yet another "last dodo" was found at a zoo on an unnamed planet. This dodo escaped shortly before the First Doctor, John and Gillian visited the zoo. The travellers offered to find the bird. They set off into the jungle surrounding the zoo and were quickly beset by a hostile tribe who believed the bird lucky and captured it. The Doctor tricked the tribesmen with a false bird of paradise that John quickly carved and returned the didus to the zoo. The bird's eggs hatched after that, creating yet more "last dodos" (COMIC: The Didus Expedition)
On the day that Lolita and the Seventy-Ninth Sontaran Assault Corps invaded the Eleven-Day Empire, Cousin Justine came to the Unkindnesses and offered them dodo meat in return for prophecies. They told her that the dodo, a symbol of extinction, represented the fall of Empire. (AUDIO: The Eleven Day Empire)
Other references Edit
Behind the scenes Edit
Another Latin name for the bird is Didus ineptus. When the First Doctor calls the bird a didus in The Didus Expedition, he's therefore speaking Latin, not naming an entirely different species that happens to have the same features and backstory of the dodo. In the zoological community, Didus ineptus was an attempt at a new, and more obvious, Latin name. However, many zoologists favour the older Raphus cucullatus. In any case, the two terms are synonymous.