elephant bird

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Related to elephant bird: moa

elephant bird,

extinct, flightless bird of the family Aepyornithidae. Once native to the island of Madagascar, these gigantic birds may have survived until as late as 1649. Today, they are known only from bone specimens and a few well-preserved eggs. In appearance they are thought to have resembled monstrous ostriches, with the largest reaching heights of up to 10 ft (305 cm) and weighing perhaps as much as 1,000 lb (455 kg). Their eggs, the largest single cells in the animal kingdom, measured up to 13 in. (33 cm) in length and held a liquid content estimated at two gallons (7.5 liters). It is quite possible that the creation of the legendary roc of the Arabian Nights was based on discoveries of such eggs or even on distant memories of the elephant bird, for, if the roc legend did not originate in Madagascar, it has long been localized there by tradition. The largest of the elephant birds, Aepyornis maximus, was also the heaviest of all known birds. Elephant birds probably became extinct at the same time as the moas. Elephant birds are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Aepyornithiformes, family Aepyornithidae.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Until now, the largest-ever elephant bird was described in 1894 by the British scientist C.W.
But how much of a role did humans really play in the decline of the elephant bird? A new study raises more questions.
The elephant bird egg is expected to fetch up to Au30,000 when it goes under the hammer on April 24.
Follow-up studies by radiography experts not only confirmed the authenticity of the museum egg, but, also revealed it had the sub-fossilized embryo of a baby elephant bird inside.
In searching for more clues about the elephant bird, Sir David investigates whether the story of its extinction can throw light on what is happening on the island today.
Here, David returns to Madagascar to see how the island has changed in the past 50 years and to search for more clues about the amazing elephant bird, which was something like a giant ostrich, weighing half a ton.
Researchers believe New Zealand's kiwi and Madagascar's elephant bird descended from a small flying bird which may have flown from Antarctica long ago.
The (http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/fossils-minerals/an-elephant-bird-egg-madagascar-pre-17th-century-5672781-details.aspx?from=salesummary&intObjectID=5672781&sid=78b3dddb-e92c-4e52-a1df-e1ef5dc653a5#top) elephant bird egg measures 8 A3/4 in.
A dodo bone and an elephant bird egg are among the objects leading a natural history sale at Christie's auctioneers in April.
The researchers' breakthrough also included recovery of DNA from the egg of the elephant bird of Madagascar, New Scientist reported.
When researchers at the University of Texas at Austin recently performed a computerized tomography (CT) scan of an unbroken elephant bird egg, they discovered a tiny, dismembered skeleton.