• Travel, Science and Natural Hi auction at Christies

    Sale 8668

    Travel, Science and Natural History

    24 April 2013, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 45

    AN ELEPHANT BIRD EGG

    MADAGASCAR, PRE-17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN ELEPHANT BIRD EGG
    Madagascar, pre-17th century
    a complete egg of Aepyornis maximus, maximum diameter 8¾ inches.
    12in. (30cm.) high on base


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    The Elephant Bird was thought to be the giant flying beast known as the Roc (or Ruhk) in the tales of Sinbad and accounts of Marco Polo's voyages. The bird grew to around 10 or 11 feet in height and whilst probably unable to devour an elephant, as the Roc was reputed to do, it certainly was the largest bird ever to have lived. It was estimated to weigh up to 1100lbs (the largest ostriches might grow to 8 feet in height and weigh 300lbs).
    The birds are thought to have gone extinct between the 14th and 17th centuries.