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    Aepyornis maximus

    The incomparable 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 widely suspected that "human activity" may have helped their extinction along. Aepyornis was one of the heaviest birds and is believed to have grown to over an astounding 10 feet (3 meters) and reaching weights approaching 880 pounds (400 kilograms) - at the time the largest bird in the world! There are even references in the journal of legendary explorer Marco Polo of encounters with very large birds on his journeys to the East in the 12th and 13th centuries - thought to be descriptions of the elephant bird. French governor of Madagascar, Etienne de Flacourt, recorded frequent sightings of elephant birds in the 1640s and 1650s, centuries after the adventures of Marco Polo. Elephant Birds 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 on the order of 160 times that of a chicken egg! This pristine specimen is a fully complete egg, a most significant factor given the majority of eggs available are "composites" having been assembled from disarticulated fragments of multiple broken specimens. Other than a tiny "slit" opening on the back side, which is often found on such pieces, this egg is in exceptional condition. While the sheer size of elephant bird eggs makes them appealing, it is the complete nature and high quality of this example that makes this such an alluring piece. There is a limited supply of Elephant Bird eggs - including partial specimens and fragments - which makes this one a truly unique fossil curiosity.
    Overall Measurements: 8 inches in diameter and 11 inches high (20.32 x 27.94 cm)
    Offered at no reserve.

    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: 3,266

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