Return of the Crazy Bird
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Return of the Crazy Bird

The Sad, Strange Tale of the Dodo
 Previously published in hardcover
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Previously published in hardcover
Clara Pinto-Correia
403 g
238x157x17 mm

Preface; 1. The Crazy Bird; 2. The Discovery; 3. The Emperor and the Painters; 4. Mauritius and Reunion; 5. Rodriguez; 6. The Rise of Dodology; 7. The Dodo's Second Life; Bibliography; Index
Using the history of the concept of extinction with the dodo as a case study, Pinto-Correia carefully weaves together story fragments to give a cohesive eye-opening view of 17th century exploration and the grave ramifications it had for the survival and extinction of many species. More importantly, she shows us the intellectual underpinnings of the old view that it was acceptable for some animals to die out. Within this narrative, we can see what the modern view of the dodo tells us about the history of our changing understanding and valuation of nature and our place in it. Strong writing, powered by lively historical anecdotes and sober insights into human behavior, makes this beautifully illustrated book a page-turner to the end. The Dodo went from being newly discovered to extinction in less than a hundred years. The flightless, odd-looking bird was seen for the first time by Europeans and then annihilated by Europeans in the course of the seventeenth century. And by the end of the nineteenth century, all that remained of what Portuguese explorers called the ¿crazy bird¿ was a patchwork of tall tales, contradictory reports, incompatible illustrations, and fragments of feather and bone. The dodo had become, in short, an unsolvable puzzle, but a puzzle that persisted in art, literature, and scientific speculation. Best-selling author Clara Pinto-Correia, in following the bird¿s re-creation, shows in this remarkable book how the human intellect and the human imagination prey on sketchy facts and images, how missing pieces and incomplete lines are merged and fused to make a cohesive whole. By considering the incredibly strong hold of this bumbling, ungainly, and ill-fated creature on our collective scientific and literary imagination, Pinto-Correia teaches us not just about the ill-fated bird from the island paradise of Mauritius, but about our own abiding need to make sense of the world around us. Clara Pinto-Correia is the author of the best-selling The Ovary of Eve. She has taught in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; served as a research assistant at Harvard University in the Museum of Comparative Zoology; and is currently Professor and Director of the Masters Degree Program in Developmental Biology at the Universidade Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Lisbon, Portugal.