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Would you be willing to fork out $7,000USD for one egg? If paleontologist and antique dealer, John Shephard from Ashford in Kent , London, is right, that is exactly what someone will end up paying soon.
For this giant specimen, is no ordinary egg. It is a 400-year old antique laid by the now extinct, Giant Elephant Bird of Madagascar - the only giant bird known to have co-existed with humans. And if that's not enough, this particular egg, is the largest of the few that still exist.
To get an idea of how large this egg is, compared to the ones we eat today, ponder over these facts:
- To poach this egg, you would need a saucepan, the size of a paddling pool!
- One of these eggs could yield up to 100, 3-egg omelettes and set you back 22,000 calories!
Get the picture? Now you see why someone may be willing to pay so much for it!
The few giant eggs that exist today, were found by Victorian explorers in the 17th century, when they visited the Madagascar Islands. The eggs were cracked and hollow. But the explorers found the missing shell pieces in the nests and carefully patched them on to the eggs.
Since then, they have been privately owned by collectors and rarely come up for sale. It took John, twenty years to find this egg.
The Giant Elephant Bird of Madagascar, was a flightless bird that resembled the Ostrich. When fully grown, it was an imposing 10ft tall and could weigh up to half a ton (1,000 lbs).
However, this gentle giant was an herbivore, who posed no threat to the wildlife or humans it lived around. In fact, it was thanks to incessant human poaching that the majestic animal became extinct in the late 1600's.
In case you are interested, the egg is on display until Sunday, at the Chelsea Antiques fair in London.
Sources: BBC.Co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk, Dailymail.co.uk