Exquisite, Rare Elephant Bird Egg with Intact Shell

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Lot 2094AW
Exquisite, Rare Elephant Bird Egg with Intact Shell

Sold for US$ 37,575 inc. premium

Natural History

5 Nov 2019, 10:00 PST

Los Angeles

Exquisite, Rare Elephant Bird Egg with Intact Shell
Aepyornis maximus
Madagascar

Bearing a provenance from 1959, this exceptional Elephant Bird specimen is completely natural and has never been broken - a great rarity among surviving eggshells of the Aepyornis maximus of Madagascar, which went extinct approximately 1,000 A.D.

The Malagasy Elephant Bird, or, the Great Elephant Bird - an extinct, flightless bird which was once native to the island of Madagascar - is thought to have survived until the mid-17th century, a theory that is supported by reports of natives. Known only from a few bone specimens and unusually well-preserved eggs, the bird is believed to have resembled an ostrich, though reaching up to ten feet in height and weighing as much as one thousand pounds. Aepyornis eggs represent the largest single cells in the animal kingdom and are estimated to have held a liquid content of two gallons, roughly equaling the volume of 170 chicken eggs and weighing as much as 26 pounds. The extinction of the Elephant Bird coincided with the destruction of the Madagascar forests; as the forests diminished, so did the number of these colossal birds. The hunting of Elephant Birds for food also contributed to their population decline, as is evidenced by findings of burned bones. Eventually, these two factors resulted in the complete extinction of these harmless birds, whose enormous size qualifies them as one of the wonders of nature. The present specimen boasts amazing shell preservation, surface texture and color.
Measuring 12 3/4in high with a circumference of 27 3/4in.

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  • Property is considered a W Lot
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Exquisite, Rare Elephant Bird Egg with Intact Shell
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