A Short History of Nearly Everything - Part 6, Chapter 30 Summary & Analysis

Bill Bryson
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Part 6, Chapter 30 Summary and Analysis

Sometime during the 1680s the last dodo in Mauritius was killed either by a bored sailor his pet monkey. At about that same time, Newton's Principia was being published. Bryson points out that these represent the best and worst of human scientific achievement.

Around 1755, the director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford pitched the last stuffed dodo into a fire. A horrified employee snatched it out in time to save the head and a leg. As a result, no one really knows what the bird looked or sounded like. No one has a dodo egg and scientists know nothing about its mating habits. After only 70 years of exposure to humans, the plump, flightless, notably unintelligent member of the pigeon family was extinct.

Throughout much of human history, studying wildlife meant capturing it and killing it. Scientists in the 1800s...

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This section contains 402 words
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