Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “Dumb as a dodo” before. Dodos were supposed to be dumb — the story goes — that’s why the three-foot tall, flightless birds weren’t afraid of the European sailors who hunted them to extinction on the island of Mauritius in the 1600s.
With their outsized, cartoonish beaks, their tiny wings and their gangly necks stuck on a plump body, they don’t look very smart.
“As goofy as it looks, it’s actually not that bad. It may not be a genius, but it’s no dodo,” says Euginea Gold, a Stony Brook University researcher.