In Images: Wacky Animals That Lived on Mauritius

The island of Mauritius was home to quite a gang of creatures, from the distinct dodo bird to moody parrots, according to a newly translated report on the ecosystem there. Here are images revealing what those island animals may have looked like so long ago. [Read the full story on the animals of Mauritius]

An educated guess

This illustration depicts Mauritius Island's extinct raven parrot (Lophopsittacus mauritianus) with a dark-colored body, as Julian Hume thought it looked based on old accounts. (Credit: Julian Hume, London Natural History Museum.)

An updated interpretation

This illustration of Mauritius Island's extinct raven parrot is based on a new report by Pretorius. (Credit: Ria Winters, Uiversity of Amersterdam.)

Dinner time

Dutch settlers catching red rails. Of these birds, Johannes Pretorius wrote: "This bird is unbelievably stupid. When one waves a stocking cap and makes a sharp sound with the mouth, it immediately heads towards that person, and if one carries a stick, all of them can be killed with it without any escaping." (Credit: Julian Hume, London Natural History Museum.)

On the hunt

A red rail foraging, along with the extinct Mauritian giant skink, which was one of the world's largest skinks, a probable victim of introduced rats and only known through subfossil bones (Pretorius did not write about this lizard, which may have been nocturnal, Hume said). (Credit: Julian Hume, London Natural History Museum.)

Sitting ducks, or geese

Mauritius geese, which were abundant on the island during Pretorius' stay. "They are a little larger than ducks, very tame and stupid, seldom in the water, eating grass, sometimes 40 or 50 or even a 100 together," Pretorius wrote. "When they are being shot, the ones that are not hit by the hail stay put and do not fly away." (Credit: Julian Hume, London Natural History Museum.)

The gardeners

Mauritius tortoises, which lived in both the plains and mountains of the island, according to Pretorius, who also noted that the reptiles fed on dead leaves and apples. (Credit: Julian Hume, London Natural History Museum.)

A lost creature

A forest scene of what Mauritius may have been like prior to the arrival of the Dutch settlers, when the dodo still lived. (Credit: Julian Hume, London Natural History Museum.)

A lost paradise

A "pristine" scene of pre-Dutch Mauritius, complete with dodos, tortoises, and red rails, among other extinct animals. (This illustration, which Hume created before finding Pretorius' report, also depicts the raven parrot with a dark-colored body.) (Credit: Julian Hume, London Natural History Museum.)

Live Science Staff
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