The Dodo was a flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius near Madagascar. This unique creature was first sighted in 1598 and was known for its relatively large size (3 feet tall, up to about 50 lbs) and inability to fly. The Dodo lived a life of tranquility without predators and so it never developed traditional defense mechanisms like flight, a sharp beak or even birthing large flocks of offspring. (It is interesting to note that each Dodo female only laid one egg which further decreased survivability.) Tragically, the Dodo was unprepared for the arrival of the ultimate predator – humans.
When sailors arrived on Mauritius they were surprised by the Dodo’s blissful ignorance of the new human threat. Unfortunately, the Dodo’s would live to regret this choice as many ended up on a platter. Sadly, by the late 1600s, the Dodos were extinct, and today, they are only remembered in written descriptions, drawings and a few lingering skeletons.
The tale of the Dodo is a cautionary one. Here is a bird that had adapted to its native environment only to find it changing radically. Some look back and suggest that the Dodo was vapid or otherwise clueless; however the latest research suggests that it was reasonably intelligent and instead was caught in an impossible situation.
The most important lesson that we can learn from the unfortunate demise of the Dodo bird is that we must always look forward. It is easy and often more comfortable to focus on past accomplishments or implementations, but limiting ourselves to a backward view puts the future at risk. By looking forward, we become more agile and flexible and better prepared to deal with the rapidly changing world around us. (more…)