A statement like "dodos were flightless birds" seems to be using a collective noun; "dodos" being the collective.
But in the case where a group actually only had a single item, would a usage like this still be considered correct?
For instance, say someone discovers the last living dodo and exclaims, "dodos still exist!". Since there is only one, how can it be correct to say "dodos"? Could this be is grammatically correct and yet still be incorrect usage because it is a logical error?
But curiously it doesn't seem strange to me to say that "dodos are extinct" even though now I'm referring to a collective which has zero living members. Perhaps there is an implicit sense of the past in this case?