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The dodo was no dummy.

A 3-D model of the brain of the extinct dodo suggests that the bird may have been fairly intelligent--by bird standards.

Overhunting and habitat loss drove dodos (Raphus cucullatus) extinct about a century after humans invaded the birds' island home, Mauritius, in 1507. The flightless birds appeared unafraid of humans, hence their reputation for stupidity.

Researchers at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Natural History Museum of Denmark performed CT scans on a dodo's skull and digitally reconstructed its outer brain.

Dodos had unusually large olfactory bulbs, which may have helped them sniff out fruit, tiny mollusks and insects. Overall, the ratio of the dodo's brain size to its body size--an indirect indicator of intelligence--is on par with that of its pigeon relatives, the team reports online February 23 in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

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Author:Thompson, Helen
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:6MAUI
Date:Apr 2, 2016
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