This is an egg of the extinct elephant bird, Aepyornis maximus from Madagascar. The contents of the egg were removed, probably before it arrived at the museum, leaving only the shell. The egg was blown using the two holes that are visible in the shell, one at an end and one in the middle. It is not known how or when the Museum acquired this egg.

Elephant birds were ratites, the group to which living emu, cassowary and kiwi, belong. Aepyornis maximus was one of the larger ratites, reaching over 3 m tall. Their eggs are also the largest bird eggs known, reaching 34 cm across and weighing up to 10 kg.

Elephant birds became extinct in the seventeenth or eighteenth Century. Humans hunting them for food and destroying their habitat probably played major roles in their extinction.

Specimen Details


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