Dodos – were they fat, or not?

A lively debate has recently taken flight within the pages of the prestigious natural sciences journal Naturwissenschaften. It all centres around the question of whether Raphus cucullatus, a.k.a. the (now extinct) Dodo might have been waddlingly plump or sprightly slim.

Here are some example papers from either side of the debate :

• The end of the fat dodo? A new mass estimate for Raphus cucullatus

• The dodo was not so slim: leg dimensions and scaling to body mass

• In defence of the slim dodo: a reply to Louchart and Mourer-Chauviré

Note: The illustration shows detail from Roelandt Savery’s (1576-1639) depiction of a Dodo, presumably more or less representative of the bird as it appeared to the artist at the time.