Posted tagged ‘extinct species’

The Late Great Elephant Bird

March 23, 2009

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…

Holy Jurassic Park!

November 6, 2008

mammoth–Japanese scientists have successfully cloned a mouse from a frozen cell taken from a specimen dead for 16 years.  Their next goal?–A mammoth! A rather well-preserved baby mammoth was discovered in Russia slightly over a year ago.

What’s next?–Elvis?–Let’s remember that restoring that frozen shape-shifting alien in John Carpenter’s The Thing didn’t work out too well…

(–Two paws up for President-Elect Barack Obama!)

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