2 weeks ago
The long-extinct elephant bird of Madagascar has regained its title as the largest bird in history. In recent years, the also long-extinct Dromornis stirtoni of Australia has been believed to be the largest ever. But the publication this week of a new study in Royal Society Open Science suggests that a previously-unrecognized genus of elephant bird should be categorized, weighing in at a whopping 1,700 pounds.
The genus revealed in the study has been named Vorombe titan, taken from the Malagasy word for “big bird.” Its 1,700-pound weight makes it the most massive bird in history by quite a wide margin, and it also stood close to 10 feet tall.
The flightless elephant bird went extinct in the 17th Century. Humans decimated the elephant bird population by stealing their shockingly huge eggs, both for food and for the fashioning of rum flasks.
“To help conserve some of the more chronically endangered plants in Madagascar, we need to understand the ecological interactions that we’ve lost,” said Dr. James Hansford, the lead author of the study, about the real world application of his work.Read the full story at The New York Times