Egg & hatchling bones of Aepyornis bird

Egg & hatchling bones of Aepyornis bird

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Egg shell debris from a nesting ground of the extinct giant Madagascan elephant bird (Aepyornis maximus) showing large hollow bird bones that may be subfossil remnants of hatchlings. The fragments were photographed in situ among the dunes of Cap Sainte Marie Special Reserve on the extreme southern tip of Madagascar. Aepyornis was the worlds largest bird, being 3 metres tall and weighing up to 400kg. It surivived perhaps up to the 17th century. Its giant egg, the largest known, has a fluid volume of over 7 liters (160 times greater than a chickens egg).

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Keywords: aepyornis, breeding ground, cap st. marie, colony, egg, eggshell, elephant bird, extinct, flightless, giant, madagascar, maximus, nesting, reserve

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