Figurines of dodo bird “invaded” all souvenir shops of Mauritius and its image even managed to become a national symbol complementing to the country’s emblem. But the most grievous thing of all is that all this glory came to Raphus cucullatus after it was completely extinct from the face of Earth – and it took it less then a hundred years…
Among exotic living creatures walking around seashores of bright unpeopled islands scattered in Indian Ocean the already half-mythic dodo used to walk. There were no predators to hunt the feathered creature therefore it had no need to run fast or levitate. Lush grass and tasty fallen palm fruits had always been available and a year-round summer didn’t let them freeze. Having “noticed” dodo’s sluggish lifestyle, evolution had done its part and dodo eventually lost “unnecessary” features. Only a small cop remained from its tail and merely a pair of useless feathers – from wings. But the birds didn’t even think of getting upset: why move anywhere if there was everything they needed in their motherland? They hadn’t been worried as long as until 17th century. But as soon as first travelers appeared on the coast of future Mauritius, heavenly life of the country’s symbol changed once and for all.
Having landed in the island, the Dutchmen decided that plump and indolent birds would make a great ship stock replenishment. One could have easily approached a credulous dodo without hindrance and simply slaughter it with a stick. Poor things offered no resistance although they had strong beak and generous size. Experience of easy hunting was adopted by the Portuguese. It was them who gave clumsy terricole bird a nickname dodo that meant “stupid” or “idiot” in their language. Yet old stories about several birds shedding bitter tears when forcibly resettled from the island realizing they were never coming back, testify to the contrary. They were nearly tame but couldn’t bare transportation and captivity and were dying during shipment.
Rats, dogs and cats brought on ships to cut with local livestock, so to say, closed the final chapter in the existence of the species. Baby birds that inhabited nests built right on the ground became tasty lunch for predatory newcomers of Mauritius fauna. This is how the era of poor Raphinae representatives ended swiftly in a little more then half a century…
They were forgotten about by virtually everyone as long as till 19th century when Lewis Carroll mentioned dodo in “Alice in Wonderland” having made it a baseline for one of the characters appearance. And this character’s prototype “in terms of nature” was the writer himself. Due to innate stammer Lewis was articulating his real name as Charles Lutwidge Do-Do-Dodgson. Interestingly, in a couple of years one of the author’s friends, Robinson Duckworth (who became a “double” for another character from the book) got a present from him, a facsimile edition of “Alice” signed: “To Robin Duck from Dodo”.
Upon the book’s publication interest in the bird reemerged. Readers were surprised that a fictional creature turned out to be totally real one, although extinct long time ago. Explorers embarked on a search for remains of the feathered tribe celebrated in the book. The only full specimen in the shape of a dummy was once preserved in London museum until it was pulled apart by rats… Therefore one of the scientists had to go to Mauritius in pursuit of a skeleton. In the process of collecting local legends and long-run archeological digging he managed to obtain what he was looking for after all. Soon another finding emerged. As it turned out, the abovementioned dummy wasn’t sent to garbage cans in full, a go-getting employee of the museum tore its head and legs off. Now scientists from Oxford University are trying to recreate the extinct species on the basis of these samples. Recently laboratory staff arrived at first significant results: DNA molecule was finally extracted from the bones found. Experiments are in progress now. The only thing left is to find dodo’s closest living relative (by the way, a number of pigeon species lay claims to the position) and revive the so absurdly extinct birds.
"A small territory with a great mission" is the motto under which on February 11, 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See recognized Vatican as a sovereign territory. It was an agreement which opened doors for curious patrons who for centuries had been trading gossip about "What is kept inside Vatican castles?". Evil tongues grumbled that the walled enclave protected magic books of how to seize the world, the castle’s cellars hide torture chambers for sinners, and after liturgies alchemists are busy inventing the Philosopher's Stone. But when museums welcomed visitors, both guests and the Romans gasped with delight. Collectors estimated that the cost of all the works of art featured by almost the smallest country in the world, is 150 times more than the world's GDP.
A jewel-case of Turkey is full of pure wonders provoking an inspiration for fairy tale writer. When people first see blindingly white mountains in the midst of warm country, they experience various desires: someone wants to fall into white drifts and make a snow angel, as some people imagine that white cliffs taste sweet just like cotton candy...
After having spent merely an hour for a flight from Kiev, I suddenly realized I reached the city where continental Europe’s oldest subway is situated. And things that Budapest underground is famous for are not limited to this. OUTLOOK sets on a trip around metropolitan of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Want to go down?
With the onset of summer, many of us ever and again cast a glance at the calendar, waiting for annual leave. And since summer vacation to a greater extent is linked to the relaxation by the water, we usually associate it with beaches – desirable destinations that can be very different. Even if you already chosen your cherished gateway, and tickets burn your pocket, our collection of epic and unusual beaches is sure to amaze you.
Amazon River – the river that not only South America but our entire planet cannot be imagined without – seems to have been explored length and breadth. But somehow every year scientists find out something about it they’ve never thought of before. We tried to gather most interesting and least-known facts about it in our feature.
Lighthouse - this word evokes beautiful associations: sea adventures, storms, huge ships. And we do not want to dispel these thoughts, but rather to add fuel to the fire.Today we are sharing with you the quintet of amazing lighthouses!
At the bare mention of the word lake, our imagination pictures soothing, nostalgia-laden images of quite pond cosily embraced by the grassy hills. OUTLOOK prepared a selection of the most spectacular lakes, which will change your understanding of this work of nature. Each of them has something to surprise, whether it is unusual water shade, or frightening ability to petrify living creatures.
The cold season brings not only such important things as wrapping into a reindeer sweater, drinking hot chocolate and once again reviewing Christmas comedies. Thus, sport has not been canceled yet, so OUTLLOK compiled top five ski resort bucket list for you to cheer up and get out of your winter sleep.
In the nooks of Earth we want to talk about people live according to very specific rules of nature. Here rains don’t start out of the blue and frosts don’t come unexpectedly. It’s much more serious. Should a good wind once bring you there, you’ll be prepared and may have a grateful memory of OUTLOOK.
As a child I could spend hours gazing at the sky and spying majestic flocks of birds winging their way south. For a kid this movement was a real magic. Today my bookshelf hosts almost no books about magic, though I am still excited about feathered tribes travelling in hope to land on their winter grounds.
Thanks to the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Ukraine and personally Ambassador extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Alisher Abdualiev OUTLOOK was lucky enough to visit this hospitable country. And today we will tell about a unique place - the Mausoleum of the prominent military leader and political figure of Amir Temur.
Autumn promises that heat would gradually fade away and immediately presents with a choice: either to clutch at stewing days in warm countries or taste cool evenings and admire architecture without being distracted by sultriness.
Nature and heritage are above and beyond temporary drawbacks in infrastructure and services of Kyrgyzstan, which in terms of tourism is approaching to Georgia and Armenia. Let's consider this through the example of the cosy city of Karakol.
Each of us wants to escape rush of a city from time to time and lie low somewhere far from everything and anything. And it better be a place where one can listen to whisper of waves, feel light breeze and forever make friends with inimitably loud silence that muffles every disturbing thought…
It is said, the easier it is, the better we feel, however, is it always like that? We know that not all the nations follow this principle. Outlook has found out the strangest, toughest and hard in articulation international languages and would like to share it with the readers.
After the walking along the boisterous streets of Seoul one wants to take it easy in a café drinking a cup of flavored tea, however, it never happens like that. Good teahouses are found out only near Buddhist monasteries or at the bohemian pedestrian street Insadon. Chinese ceremony in Korea that is incomparable with the rough schedule of offices and plants do not reach out people remaining the joy of wise people and privilege of the masters.
Land-art is not simply the landscape design but also the whole direction in art which in thee 21-st century considered one of the most important when only lazy people do not speak about the ‘green technologies’ and environment. The names of stars of such an activity have sturdily come into the speech of the tutors, critics, and connoisseurs, especially they outline Patrick Dougherti with his unbelievable works.
Words we vocalize every day seem ordinary and familiar to us. We even get the feeling that, for instance, the word “chauffeur” existed forever. There is only this slight nuance: cars themselves re a little over hundred years old… Hence, things aren’t that simple when it comes to our day-to-day vocabulary. Well then, why not recollect interesting stories of other words origin?
5 tons of water fall off into the ravine every single moment, roaring, raising steam and disseminating spatter in all directions. ‘Liquid wall’ of Iguazu Falls extends its crescent on the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.