The dodo Raphus cucullatus Linnaeus, 1758 Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Tegna Tria Naturae, Secundum Classes, Ordines,
Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentiis, Synonymis, Locis. Tenth Edition. Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm, 824 pp., an
extinct and flightless, giant pigeon endemic to Mauritius, has fascinated people since its discovery, yet has remained surprisingly
poorly known. Until the mid-19th century, almost all that was known about the dodo was based on illustrations and written
accounts by 17th century mariners, often of questionable accuracy. Furthermore, only a few fragmentary remains of dodos collected
prior to the bird's extinction exist. Our understanding of the dodo's anatomy was substantially enhanced by the discovery
in 1865 of subfossil bones in a marsh called the Mare aux Songes, situated in southeastern Mauritius. However, no contextual
information was recorded during early excavation efforts, and the majority of excavated material comprised larger dodo bones,
almost all of which were unassociated. Here we present a modern interdisciplinary analysis of the Mare aux Songes, a 4200-year-old
multitaxic vertebrate concentration Lagerstätte. Our analysis of the deposits at this site provides the first detailed overview
of the ecosystem inhabited by the dodo. The interplay of climatic and geological conditions led to the exceptional preservation
of the animal and associated plant remains at the Mare aux Songes and provides a window into the past ecosystem of Mauritius.
This interdisciplinary research approach provides an ecological framework for the dodo, complementing insights on its anatomy
derived from the only associated dodo skeletons known, both of which were collected by Etienne Thirioux and are the primary
subject of this memoir.