Despite new survey results stating that one in four Brits believe the dodo still roams the Earth, the dodo is dead. The last dodo bird sighting was reported in 1662 and the bird was officially declared extinct in 1680. There are no photographs of the bird and the only skeletons we have are made from bones of various birds, so we can't even be sure what the dodo looked like.
Most of the depictions we rely on are paintings and illustrations and some of the earliest images of the flightless bird show an almost athletic-looking bird instead of the awkward, plump depiction we usually imagine. Researchers don't believe that the dodo's frame could have supported the ungainly body that has been associated with the dodo.
There is one thing scientists know for certain: what the dodo's head looked like. The Oxford University Museum of Natural History has the world's only soft-tissue dodo specimen in existence.
Once displayed as a public attraction in London, a dodo died, was mummified and given to a naturalist collector, John Tradescant Sr., according to Mental Floss. Tradescant died in 1662 and his collection was passed to his friend Elias Ashmole, who relocated the taxidermied bird to the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford when the specimen was neglected.
In 1775, the museum found mites and other bugs had destroyed everything except the dodo's head and one foot, so the infested portions of the body were burned.
The remains have proven helpful. DNA test results ascertained that the closest living relative of the dodo is "the Nicobar pigeon, from southeast Asia; the next nearest relatives were found to be the crowned pigeons of New Guinea, and the unusual tooth-billed pigeon of Samoa," according to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
If you are a credentialed scientist, you have a chance at seeing "the Oxford dodo" up close and personal. The rest of us will only get as close as the replica on display at the Ashmolean - unless 25 percent of the British are right.