The biggest bird in the world would be indeed an elephant-bird but not the one we believed: after more than a century of scientists fights and contradictory pieces, searchers announced they have found the “winner” among the birds of Madagascar. It is unfortunately not during a travel Madagascar that you will cross its path!
During 60 millions years, huge elephant-birds have traveled the savanna and tropical forests of Madagascar. They extincted about a 1.000 years ago, after a new wave of human colons. In the XIX century, European Zoologists were passionate by this extraordinary creature, looting skeletons and fossilized eggs to fetch the “biggest bird ever”.
Till today, the prize went back to the Aepyornis titan, an elephant-bird described in 1894 by the British scientist C.W. Andrews. But for other scientists, the specimen was not a separate specie but only a huge Aepyornis maximus. However, a study published Wednesday, sept. 26, 2018 in the Royal Society Open Science journal questions everything: an other elephant-bird specie, the Vorombe Titan, bigger than expected before, is beating all other Aepyornis species.
Weighting 860 kg (an adult giraffe), “they definitely couldn’t fly”, explain to the AFP James Hansford of the London Zoological Society, coauthor of the study. To reach these conclusions, the searcher and his team have examined bones of elephant-bird found worldwide. According to James Hansford, the Aepyornis titan, the “baby” of C.W. Andrews, was much different from the Aepyornis maximus. So different that it would even not be a elephant-bird but a distinct specie. The Vorombe Titan, 3 meters tall and 650 kg weigh, is much more imposing.
Source: Sciences & Avenir 09-27-2018
N.B. (Nota Boogie) : Meet the unique birds of Madagascar during a bird watching tour with Boogie Pilgrim, tour operator in Madagascar since 1988. Our tours are available here: Madagascar tour.