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Established 15,000 B.C.

Volume 33, January 1681.

Dat's It For Da


Dodos were descendents of a type of pigeon, which settled on Mauritius over 4 million years ago. With no predators to attack them they lost their need and ability to fly. It lived and nested on the ground and ate fruits that had fallen from trees. There were no mammals on the island and a high diversity of bird species lived in the dense forests.

In 1505, the Portuguese became the first humans to set foot on Mauritius. The island quickly became a stopover for ships engaged in the spice trade. Weighing up to 50 pounds, the dodo was a welcome source of fresh meat for the sailors. Large numbers of dodos were killed for food.

Later, when the Dutch used the island as a penal colony, pigs and monkeys were brought to the island along with the convicts. Many of the ships that came to Mauritius also had uninvited rats aboard, some of which escaped onto the island. Before humans and other mammals arrived the dodo had little to fear from predators. The rats, pigs and monkeys made short work of vulnerable dodo eggs in the ground nests.

The combination of human exploitation and introduced species significantly reduced dodo populations. Within 100 years of the arrival of humans on Mauritius, the once abundant dodo was a rare bird. The last one was killed in 1681.

The Dodo made an apperance in 1938, in the Warner Bros. cartoon "Porky in Wackyland" directed by Bob Clampett.


Also In This Edition

First London Newspaper
Is Published

In London, England, The London Gazette is first published on a weekly basis beginning July 14th, 1681.

Up to this point, it was the job of the Town Crier, who would either walk about the streets calling out the news or gather whomever wanted to listen into one place and call out the happenings of the day. There were also public billboards on which notices were placed. These were hand written. With the advent of the printing press and movable type, it was now possible to mass produce copies of the newspaper and distribute it to the masses for their consumption at their own pace.

It was the job of the publisher to gather all the local gossip and happenings and determine what was "newsworthy" and what was not. Many times, this line was blurred to fill the space. The publisher was basically the news gatherer, reporter, writer, editor, and printer, and in most cases the distributor of the papers as well.

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