Dodo comes back to life with £500,000 price on its head

An icon of extinction is set to go under the hammer in Billingshurst on Tuesday (November 22) for up to £500,000.

Tuesday, 15th November 2016, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:03 pm
Dodo skeleton SUS-160824-163843001

The dodo is the first ever to be sold at auction and the first almost complete skeleton to come up for sale in 100 years.

It will be sold at the fourth evolution sale to be held by Summers Place Auctions at The Walled Garden in Billingshurst. The auction house will be open to the public on Sunday, (November 20) for the sale preview.

Errol Fuller, Summers Place Auctions’ natural history curator said: “I am sure I won’t be the only dodo expert who thinks this is an amazingly rare opportunity to acquire one of the great icons of extinction.”

The dodo came from a private collector, who over decades bought bones from private collections and auctions. It was only in the early 2000s he realised he had enough bones - only lacking part of the skull and one set of claws - which have been reconstructed- to build a skeleton.

“The Dodo only lived on the island of Mauritius,” said Errol. “First seen by Dutch sailors in September 1598, it became extinct 70 years after its discovery and epitomises what can go wrong when humans interfere with an island ecosystem.”

It is unlikely another skeleton will ever come up for auction as newly discovered bones from Mauritius where the vast majority of Dodo bones were found in the 19th century – will not be for sale. The Mauritian Government has banned all exports.

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