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Lot
53376

RARE AND PRISTINE ELEPHANT BIRD EGG. Aepyornis maximus. Madagascar. ...

2013 Oct 19-20 Nature & Science Signature Auction - Dallas #5141

 
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Auction Ended On: Oct 20, 2013
Item Activity: 1 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions - Design District Annex
1518 Slocum Street
Dallas, TX

Description:
RARE AND PRISTINE ELEPHANT BIRD EGG
Aepyornis maximus
Madagascar

The strange and exotic elephant bird was a giant flightless bird that once inhabited the island of Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa. Likely going extinct by the 17th century, it is wildely suspected that "human activity" was the cause of their disappearance. Aepyornis was one of the heaviest birds and is believed to have grown to over 10 feet (3 meters) in height and to have reached weights approaching 880 pounds (400 kilograms) - at the time the largest bird in the world. Legendary explorer Marco Polo even mentioned accounts of very large birds on his journeys to the East in the 12th and 13th centuries - thought to be descriptions of elephant birds. Much later, in the 1640s and 1650s, a French governor of Madagascar, Etienne de Flacourt, recorded frequent sightings of elephant birds. They were part of a group of medium to large sized birds known as ratites - most of which are flightless. Remains of Aepyornis adults and eggs have been found, and the egg volume of the huge elephant bird egg would be about 160 times that of a modern-day chicken egg! This piece is a truly complete elephant bird egg - a significant factor - since the majority of eggs available are "composites" put together from disarticulated fragments of multiple broken specimens.This egg is in pristine condition - with only a tiny "slit" opening on the back side - which is common among these pieces. The sheer size of an elephant bird egg makes it appealing, but it is the additional fact that this egg is both totally complete and in top notch condition that makes it such a rare and special piece. There is a finite supply of this natural treasure - especially of this superb quality. Egg is approximately 11 inches (27.94 cm) long and 8.25 inches (20.96 cm) in diameter.

Condition Report*:

Condition report available upon request.

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