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  Worksheet: Dodos related to pigeons, say scientists
Updated 04 March 2002, 12.43
Dodos and pigeons
The dodo, the most famous, flightless bird which became extinct in the 17th century is the closest relation to the pigeon.

That's according to UK scientists who have examined DNA from a mummified dodo for the first time, writes the journal Science.

No dead-ringer

Fact File
Know your dodos
They were bigger than turkeys
Couldn't fly
Lived on Island of Mauritius, Indian Ocean
Hunted heavily by Dutch settlers
Became extinct in 1681
Before that, it was around for 25m years
Dodo appears in chapter three of Alice in Wonderland!

And if you've ever seen a picture of a dodo, you'd never think it was a dead-ringer for the familiar pigeon!

Scientists took the smallest bits of DNA - the information that gives every living thing its characteristics - from a preserved dodo's skull.

When they compared it to different species of pigeons and doves, they discovered it was most similar to the Nicobar pigeon from south east Asia.

But the experts won't be doing a Jurassic Park with the dodo. They say it would be impossible to use the DNA to clone it and bring it back to life.

So it looks like it'll remain as dead as... you got it, a dodo!

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