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Keywords:

  • columbiformes;
  • comparative morphology;
  • computed tomography;
  • dodo;
  • endocast;
  • palaeoneurology;
  • Raphinae

The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) became extinct only 100 years after humans first arrived on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Even though it has become an example of oddity, obsolescence, stupidity, and extinction, most aspects of its biology are still unknown. We used high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanning to examine the endocranial morphology of the dodo and compare this virtual endocast to eight close relatives. Enlarged olfactory bulbs are a shared characteristic of the Raphinae and posteriorly angled semicircular canals are particular to the dodo compared with the other eight species sampled here. A regression of log endocranial volume against log body size shows that the dodo has an endocranial volume on par with other pigeons. Aspects of the dodo's biology are discussed in relation to these endocranial features.