The Dodo and the Solitaire: A Natural History

Jolyon C. Parish . Indiana Univ., $75 (432p) ISBN 978-0-253-00099-6
Parish gathers the meager scientific records available on the Dodo and the Solitaire, adding fragments from other disciplines to flesh out an ever-incomplete picture of these extinct, flightless birds. In the process, he demonstrates how history, anatomy, ecology, art, and literature all contribute to researching the natural history of a species. The first two chapters feel cumbersome, composed primarily of lists of facts with annotations taken from written accounts of past explorers. Parish shares a rare opinion in chapter three, noting how discrepancies across available illustrations and visual models aide in the determination of a species' real physical characteristics. He then presents actual anatomical evidence for the existence of Dodos and Solitaires, including the locations of bone discoveries. A summary of the natural history of the two birds follows, with Parish outlining the variability in opinions on wing anatomy, plumage, internal organs, and even the birds' edibility. The book, a welcome volume for aficionados, is organized as a record of recollections, part-remembrances, facts, and fictions, but a number of references to written accounts and prior research interrupt the flow. 20 color, 200 b&w illus. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 12/01/2012
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-0-253-00103-0
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