Director Rupert van der Werff said: “The rarity and completeness of this specimen cannot be overemphasised. “It provides a unique opportunity for an individual or an institution to own a specimen of this great icon of extinction.” The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was native to Mauritius but became extinct in the late 17th Century, within less than 100 years of Europeans settling the Indian Ocean island. The bird, which could not swim or fly, was bigger than a turkey and weighed about 50lbs (23kg). It evolved in isolation from predators and had no fear of humans. Dodo meat was said to be very tasty, although very little is known about the animal. The majority of the bones in the specimen up for auction were recovered from the Mare aux Songes swamp, in south-eastern Mauritius, in the 19th Century. The Mauritian government has since banned all exports of dodo bones. Only one dodo skeleton exists that is made up from the bones of a single animal. It is on display in Port Louis, Mauritius. About a dozen other specimens are composites made up from bones from several birds. The 95% complete composite skeleton being offered for auction is said to be the first put together since the early 20th Century. It will be part of the fourth Evolution sale at the auction house in Billingshurst on 22nd November.
rarity: n. 罕见；珍贵；稀薄；珍品（需用复数）
specimen: n. 标本；样品，样本
predators: n. 食肉动物；掠夺者；捕食者
swamp: n. 沼泽；湿地/ vt. 使陷于沼泽；使沉没；