Real Elephant Bird Egg Accidentally Discovered in New York Museum, Earlier Considered a Fake Model
The giant egg discovery (Photo credits: Buffalo Museum of Science)

A museum in New York made a discovery from its very own collection while cataloguing the pieces in there. The Buffalo Museum found a full egg belonging to the elephant bird, which was before tagged as a fake one. During the process of cataloguing pieces, they realised that the foot-tall egg inside a locked cabinet is not a model but a real specimen. The egg weighs more than 3 pounds, is 28 inches and may be one of the largest eggs discovered.

Zoology Collections Manager, Paige Langle, was helping modernize the museum's catalogue system. She observed that a large cream coloured egg that was labelled as a model. On further observation, she realized it was a real one. "I opened the case and I gently picked up the egg and immediately could feel the difference and I could see the difference and the way the pitting is and the coloration. It was just this moment of oh my goodness...I think it's real," she said.

Experts have said there are fewer than 40 intact elephant bird eggs held in public institutions. The elephant bird was native to Madagascar. It grew up to 10 feet tall and laid the largest eggs of any vertebrate, including dinosaurs. The museum records show the egg was purchased from London in the year 1939. Apparently, the staff then wanted an elephant bird egg in the collection and it was searched for all over.

These eggs were once a major source of people for people who lived in Madagascar about 600 years ago. The Director of Collections Leacock has said, "This egg is the equivalent of about 150 chicken eggs." said Leacock. He also mentioned that the egg stayed intact as it was because of the partial fossilization. This finding of it being an actual than just a model, takes the Buffalo Museum to a notch higher for enthusiasts. After realising the true nature, the museum curators intend to put it on display for the first time since the 1950s. The egg will be on display at the museum beginning May 1.