Egg shell Aepyornis elephant bird d

Egg shell Aepyornis elephant bird d

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Massed egg shell debris from a nesting ground of the extinct giant Madagascan Elephant bird Aepyornis maximus. The fragments were photographed undisturbed in-situ among the dunes of Cap Sainte Marie Special Reserve on the extreme southern tip of Madagascar. Evident here is the effect of wind in scattering and separating the remains which here spread across several hundred metres. 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: aeolian, aepyornis, breeding ground, cap st. marie, colony, egg, eggshell, elephant bird, erosion, extinct, flightless, giant, madagascar, maximus, nesting, reserve, sand, wind

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