The Last One

The last remaining creature of any species is a sad sight. A while back when I was in London, I visited the museum of natural history in Kensington — a wonderful collection housed in a beautiful, ornate building from the early 1880s — where I saw small an exhibit on the Dodo Bird. Dodos may have existed for thousands and thousands of years on the island of Mauritius, but in less than one century they were gone.

They were big (over three feet tall and over 40 lbs), flightless birds with no natural predators on the island. But, about 80 years after the first Dutch sailors landed on the island, in 1598, they were gone. Between hungry sailors, and their equally hungry dogs and cats, the Dodos were done for.

For a long time people thought they were mythological creatures. Just stories told by previous visitors to the island and illustrations in books. But they existed, leaving behind traces in natural history collections. A fossilized Dodo egg here a carefully preserved feather there — bits and pieces adding up to the last of its kind.

Best known as a Lewis Carroll character or as a joke in old cartoons, the Dodo bird eventually became symbolic of irrelevance. It was as if they didn’t matter at all.

What about other lasts? The intolerable loneliness of being the only one, the horror of impending extinction… how must the last of a monster species feel? I’m certain that I could write a story full of pathos for the last monster. Imagine howling at the moon and receiving no reply.

In our time, when our human monsters (serial killers, dictators, etc.) take center stage, has the big, hairy beast become as irrelevant as the Dodo? I don’t think so.

I think that there is always room at the table for a monster.


  1. What a great post–informative and interesting. I love your premise about how it must feel to be among a spieces about to go extinct. It human terms, it’s sort of like “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.

    • Candy

      Wow… Cormac McCarthy!
      Since I started my ebook adventure, I’ve been reading all sorts of genre fiction — including more fantasy and science fiction (genres I read a lot growing up but pushed aside for mysteries) and the post-apocolyptic themes are fertile territory. In the hands of a good writer, it’s a great starting point.

    • Candy

      I always thought of the Dodo of Lewis Carroll, but after that exhibit at the Natural History Museum, it was no looking back. Glad you enjoyed it!.

  2. I might think about putting a muzzle on a werewolf but otherwise it would be welcome at my table! Blending up enough raw steak so it could sip through a straw might be a little time consuming but hey, my Mum would never forgive me if I let anyone walk away still feeling hungry 😀

    On a serious note we here in Australia are fighting tooth and nail [sic] to save the Tasmanian Devil from extinction. Sadly the plight of the tassie devil may be one fight our best scientists can’t win, at least in the wild. They [the devils not the scientists] fight each other and it is believed that these wounds somehow lead to or cause dreadful facial tumours. Eventually these tumours stop the devils from feeding. And there is no known cure. Yet. I just hope that the next creature to become ‘the last’ will not be a devil. They may not be cute like a koala but they are the last native predator of any size to exist in Australia. As such they are hugely significant.
    -fingers crossed-

    • Candy

      Fingers, and paws, crossed about the Tasmanian Devils. Predators are a critical part of any eco system. Cute and cuddly, or not so cute and cuddly, extinction is a huge tragedy.

  3. I liked your story! Interesting facts woven together in an engaging way. My favorite line, ” Imagine howling at the moon and receiving no reply”- great job!