Design Release – “Don’t Be A Dodo”

The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a large flightless bird, about 3 feet tall, that once lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. When humans arrived the defenseless birds were quickly wiped out, driven to extinction by the mid 1600’s. Very few specimens or first hand illustrations of the bird survived, so it is difficult to tell for certain what they actually looked like. This illustration of a dodo bird by Joseph Dinkel was published in 1849 in “The Genera of Birds”, and shows an interpretation of what the bird looked like based on a dried head.

Illustrations by Joseph Dinkel, published in 1849 in "The Genera of Birds". Source: Wikimedia Commons
Illustration by Joseph Dinkel, published in 1849 in “The Genera of Birds”. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The dodo is now usually, whether fairly or unfairly, associated with stupidity and obsolescence. Although they were well adapted for life on their island before the arrival of humans, they were unable to adapt quickly enough to survive the changes in their world. The phrase “go the way of the dodo” implies that something is no longer relevant, that it’s a thing of the past. “Don’t be a dodo” is a similar phrase associated with the bird. This phrase and the above illustration were the building blocks of our newest design. (Illustrations beyond a certain age are considered public domain (no longer copyrighted). I’ve always loved vintage scientific illustrations and I plan to incorporate more into my designs in the future. By adding some colors and effects to Dinkel’s drawing I hope to bring some new life and attention to his work, and the dodo!)

“Don’t be a dodo” doesn’t necessarily mean don’t be stupid, it means don’t allow yourself to be stuck in ways of thinking that are no longer relevant to the challenges of our modern world. Don’t refuse to evolve! Science is an essential tool that can help us to overcome issues like climate change, emerging viruses and resistant bacteria, pollution, loss of biodiversity, and so on. Yet scientific progress still faces opposition. As a species we need to embrace science to overcome the threats we now face, or we may just end up sharing the dodo’s fate.

Wear this shirt to proudly proclaim that you don’t plan to be one of those joining the dodos in obscurity!

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