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The Extinct King Island Emu and the Dodo Bird

Updated on May 10, 2016

The Extinct King Island Emu

By John Gerrard Kaulemons Public Domain
By John Gerrard Kaulemons Public Domain | Source

The King Island Emu is now extinct. They were a subspecies of the Emu of today. Before they became extinct, they were only found on King Island. You will find King Island, located between the mainland of Australasia and Tasmania. The King Island Emu was a close relative of the Tasmanian Emu, which many also are extinct. The King Island Emu was very small, and its size may have been the result of insular dwarfism. The King Island Emu's body was black and brown, and their neck had bare blue skin on it. The King Island Emu was very similar to the mainland Emu. They would form groups to look for food and during the breeding season. They ate berries, grass, and seaweed. They were very fast runners, and they were good at kicking and they would kick their predators. The King Island Emu would make a shallow nest out of dead leaves and moss. The female King Island Emu would lay around 9 eggs in the nest. The male and female would sit on the eggs until they hatched. The King Island Emu was discovered by the European settlers in 1802 when they traveled to King Island. In 1804, there were some live and some stuffed King Island Emus shipped to France. There were 2 live King Island Emus shipped to France, and they were exhibited at the Jardin des Plantes. The remains of Emus and other birds were sent to museums in Europe. They are still there to this day. The King Island Emu was hunted by the settlers. The settlers also started fires to clear land that destroyed their habitat. It is believed the wild population became extinct by 1805. The 2 Emus that were alive were sent to Paris and it is believed they lived until 1822. It is believed this is when the King Island Emu officially became extinct.

The Extinct Dodo Bird

134213 CCO Public Domain
134213 CCO Public Domain | Source

The dodo was a large bird that could not fly. In the 1590s, the dodo was found living on Mauritius island which is located in the Indian Ocean. In less the 100 years after they were discovered, they were extinct. Their body was similar to a turkey. It is believed the pigeon and dove are related to the dodo bird. They made their home in the tropical forests of Mauritius. Madagascar and Mauritius have a unique wildlife. The dodo had a large body and a small curved tail. They had wings that were stubby and legs that were short. Their beak was very large and curved. They had gray, white and black feathers. There were no ground predators before the settlers came so the dodo was not afraid of anything including the settlers. The dodo ate the fruit of the Tambalacoque tree that ripened and fell on the ground. The seeds of the Tambalacoque only germinate after they have gone through the digestive system of the dodo. The Tambalacoque tree is now on the verge of extinction. The Dodo bird was preyed on by the settlers when the came to the island in the 1600s. The cats, dogs, and monkeys they brought with them also became predators of the dodo. The dodo made its nest on the ground and they were destroyed along with the young by the settlers, dogs, cats, and monkeys. The settlers from Europe hunted the dodo for food. It was easy to kill them because they were not afraid of humans. After the settlers arrived on Mauritius island, it took less than 80 years for the dodo to become extinct.


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    • norlawrence profile image

      Norma Lawrence 18 months ago from California

      Great comment. Thanks. A lot of our creatures and nature are being destroyed in the name of progress.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      The history of the King Island Emu and the Dodo illustrates the effects of human settlement upon nature and the trickle down effect of their extinction. "Tambalacoque seeds only germinate after they have gone through the digestive system of the dodo. . . (the tree) now on the verge of extinction." Sad to know we are killing off earth's creatures.