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Aepyornis maximus

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.

*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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Auction Dates
October, 2013
19th-20th Saturday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 1
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 2,077

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