The Late Great Elephant Bird

elephantbird–The Elephant Bird once inhabited the island of Madagascar off the eastern coast of Africa, and was the largest bird ever to have lived, weighing up to half a ton and standing up to ten feet tall.  The birds resembled heavily built ostriches, with small heads, massive legs, taloned claws, vestigial wings,  and a long, powerful neck.  The eggs of the creature were 13 inches long, and held the equivalent of 200 hen’s eggs; such eggs were bigger than the largest known dinosaur eggs.

Specialized to an island environment with no large predators, the elephant bird was essentially hunted to extinction by good ole homo sapiens, vanishing entirely by 1700. Egg-collecting by Europeans also contibuted to their demise as the birds bred slowly, and their enormous eggs could only be laid in small numbers.

Legends of the giant roc in Arab folklore were probably based on the elephant bird, which is now sadly as dead as the dodo…

Explore posts in the same categories: animals, furry, historical perspectives

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2 Comments on “The Late Great Elephant Bird”

  1. carycomic Says:

    Didn’t Dr. Seuss record a mass sighting of one in one of his books?

    I believe the report went something like: ” ‘Good Heavens!’ cried the people: My Gracious! My Word! It’s something brand new. IT’S AN ELEPHANT BIRD!'”


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