Replica Elephant Bird Egg At Buffalo Museum Turns Out To Be The Real Deal

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Photo Credit: The Buffalo Museum of Science

One would think that an elephant bird egg, the largest laid by any vertebrate ever — including dinosaurs and ancient reptiles — would be hard to miss for 80 years. Yet, that is precisely what Paige Langle at New York’s Buffalo Museum of Science discovered recently while inputting the institution’s extensive collections, many of which only exist on cards and ledgers, into the museum’s computer system.

The collections manager of zoology stumbled upon the rare specimen, only 40 of which are believed to exist, inside a cabinet which had not been opened for some years. Measuring 12 inches long with a circumference of 24 inches, the pristine cream-colored egg, which weighed over three pounds, lay encased inside a box marked “model.”

Photo Credit: The Buffalo Museum of Science

Suspecting it was the real thing, Langle decided to investigate further. “I tried to shrug it off, but the more closely I looked at the surface of the eggshell and felt the weight of the egg, the more I kept thinking this has to be real,” she says. Upon digging further, Langle discovered museum records of an elephant egg acquisition from Edward Gerrard & Sons, a British taxidermy collector, for $92 in 1939.

To confirm if the records were referring to the egg she had found, Langle dispatched the precious specimen to conservation experts at Buffalo State for testing. Sure enough, radiography images found that not only was the egg authentic, but it had also been fertilized and contained fragments of the developing chick. Not surprisingly, the museum is thrilled at this rare, unexpected find, which is currently being showcased as part of their new exhibit Rethink Extinct, that opened to the public on May 1, 2018.

Photo Credit: Monnier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Though not as big as an adult pachyderm, the Elephant bird that once roamed the island of Madagascar was a giant among birds. Measuring 10 feet tall and weighing between 770 to 1,100 pounds, the majestic flightless animal was an herbivore that sustained itself on the island’s abundant low hanging fruit. However, their idyllic life changed around 500 B.C when humans arrived. In addition to partaking in the birds’ food supply, the settlers also poached their eggs, one of which was big enough to feed an entire family. Researchers believe these factors, along with a loss of habitat, led to the extinction of these majestic birds some time in the 17th century. It is no wonder the few elephant bird eggs still in existence, fetch as much as $100,000 from collectors and museums.

Resources: sciencebuff.org, smithsonianmag.org,buffalorising.com


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252 Comments
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  • austin967574
    austin967574Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 7:20 am
    that was really intresting GJ
    • sparkle14
      sparkle14Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 7:07 am
      Oh my, that is a big elephant egg!!!!!!
      • cWednesday, May 16, 2018 at 6:54 am
        cool
        • beachbreeze13
          beachbreeze13Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 6:41 am
          WoW!
          • TWednesday, May 16, 2018 at 6:25 am
            Wakanda forever, this is awesome.
            • ccwcole
              ccwcoleWednesday, May 16, 2018 at 5:59 am
              Noice
              • awsomepickle
                awsomepickleWednesday, May 16, 2018 at 5:30 am
                Cool! That would be a cool thing to see and cooler if it hatched! But it won't tho...
                • wdkpwaodkWednesday, May 16, 2018 at 5:28 am
                  does this mean that we can bring it back? it doesn't say.
                  • packjack100
                    packjack100Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 8:00 am
                    Yes. Though currently the technology isn't that advanced, but very soon in the future!
                  • grapefruit
                    grapefruitWednesday, May 16, 2018 at 5:17 am
                    I didn't even know those things exist...
                    • EA SPORTSTuesday, May 15, 2018 at 11:50 pm
                      Looks like a rock

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