The dodo bird became extinct, in part, because of evolution.
The dodo bird, related to the pigeon, settled on an island named Mauritius, just east of Madagascar, millions of years ago.
Because the island housed no predators, the bird lost its ability to fly, yet lived in relative peace for over four million years.
Occasionally, humans would land at the island, but not until the 1500s did sailors begin using it for frequent stops on their trade route.
Not long after, the Dutch set up the first human colony, bringing pigs, dogs, rats, and other animals.
The animals made quick meals of dodo birds and their eggs, wiping out the entire species by 1681.
It wasn’t just the dodo bird that was affected, however.
Dozens of other bird species were exterminated when the Mauritius Island forests were cut down for sugarcane plantations in the 1800s.
In addition, the tree the dodo bird depended on for food became an endangered species because its seed had become dependent on being passed through the bird’s digestive tract before it would germinate.
The species, called the dodo tree, dwindled down to a handful of ancients with no new trees germinating for more than 300 years.
Recently, though, scientists discovered that turkey gullets can also help this tree germinate new seedlings, so the dodo tree may not go the way of its feathered namesake after all.