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    Aepyornis maximus

    Since humans started to use their much vaunted brain power to find food and entertain themselves, certain animals have done very well hanging around us - coyotes, rats, starlings, etc. Others have ended up with the proverbial short end of the stick. Some were just slow and defenseless; Dodos for instance. Some had the misfortune of being large (impossible to hide) and evidently; tasty. Ground Sloths and Elephant Birds fell into that category. It's not all that much of a coincidence, that both of these large animals seem to have become extinct right about the time that they met up with Homo sapiens. In the case of the Elephant Bird of Madagascar, there is evidence that they survived all the way into historic times. Alleged sightings were recorded by various individuals, between the early 1400s and the 1600s.

    The Elephant Bird is gone now, but from the scattered bones found by villagers scouring the bush, it is possible to determine just how big - Big Bird grew. As interest in these giants of the avian world became more serious, a drive to collect enough "parts" to reassemble a skeleton, reached the tipping point and molds were made from the various bones found over a span of years, so that ultimately a cast of a complete Aepyornis could be made.

    This is that cast - the first of it's type ever to be assembled. It stands 8.5 feet (2.6 meters) high and you can easily see why hungry foragers with a spear or two would have a hard time turning down this much turkey jerky on the hoof. The articulated skeletal replica is mounted on a steel base and armature, which allows for a 360 degree viewing angle.

    This auction also includes an unbroken egg that was laid by a real Aepyornis - see the previous Lot 73279. Unbroken eggs from this species are quite rare, most eggs offered are composites, assembled as a mosaic of parts recovered from multiple localities - this one is not. This is not only the first time an anatomically correct cast of Aepyornis has been offered, it is the first time that a genuine Aepyornis item was offered for sale simultaneously.
    Overall Measurements: 63 x 33 x 103 inches (160 x 83.82 x 261.62 cm)

    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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2014
    28th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,017

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

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