Curators at the Buffalo Museum of Science in Buffalo, New York, announced that an what they thought to be the replica of an elephant bird’s egg is the real thing. The egg was found in the museum’s storage room.
Paige Langle, who is in charge of the museum’s zoology collections, made the discovery while modernizing Buffalo Museum of Science’s catalog system. She found a larger egg locked in a cabinet which was believed to be a replica.
After a closer analysis, Langle found that the egg was a real egg from a long-extinct species, the elephant bird. The curator realized that the egg was real when she held it in her hands. The county’s Art Conservation Department confirmed the discovery through X-ray examinations shortly after.
The museum’s Director of Collections Kathryn Leacock noted that the 12-inch-long egg showed signs that it had been fertilized. According to records, the museum bought the egg in 1939 in a bid to enrich its collections.
Staff members were literally asked to make wishlists to fill the collections. One curator added the elephant bird egg to his wishlist. He traveled to London and found one.
Currently, there are only 40 elephant bird eggs left in the world’s public collections.
- Elephant birds went extinct around 600 years ago after the local population in Madagascar used their eggs for consumption.
- One egg has the nutritional value of 150 chicken eggs.
It is unclear how the extinct birds looked. They are believed to be 10-foot-tall and have a weight of up to 1,100 pounds. The birds’ eggs are the largest eggs a vertebrate could lay, dinosaurs included. Some eggs were 13-inch-long.
Image Source: Printscreen, Wikimedia via Quora