I’m still working my way through the Jan. 22 New Yorker, and I just finished “Digging for Dodos,” by Ian Parker (not online). It’s fairly interesting (though presumably more so if you care more than I do about dodos), but the linguistically significant bit was this, from p. 66:
On later visits, the Dutch came to refer to the birds as dodaersen—fat-asses. In English, “dodo” was in use by the sixteen-twenties, perhaps through a simple process of linguistic evolution; but [Julian] Hume [a British paleontologist and dodo authority] likes the idea that the coinage was inspired, or at least reinforced, by the bird’s call.
I have two problems with this. In the first place, dood does not mean ‘fat’ in Dutch, it means ‘dead’ or ‘death’ (‘fat’ is dik or vet). More importantly, every other etymology I’ve seen for dodo (for example, Merriam-Webster’s) derives it from Portuguese doudo ‘silly, stupid.’ My default assumption here is that the author listened to somebody who didn’t know what he was talking about (presumably one of the Dutch scientists he traveled around with) and that the magazine, as sadly often these days, fell down on fact-checking, but if anyone knows differently, please speak up.