Egg of extinct elephant bird was mislabeled as fake for decades, museum realizes 博物館發現,絕種象鳥的蛋被誤認為贗品數十載






A museum in Buffalo, N.Y., recently discovered that a rare elephant bird egg in its collection had been mislabeled as a model for decades.




A collections manager at the Buffalo Museum of Science was updating its catalog to a digital system when she discovered the "realistic" cream-colored egg among its collection of more than 1,000 eggs. The partially fossilized egg measured 28 inches around and weighed more than 3 pounds.




The curators took the egg to the Art Conservation Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo for a radiography — a technique that uses X-rays to see inside an object. The test not only confirmed their suspicions, but it also showed "specs of white" that indicated it could have been fertilized.




Museum records showed a previous curator had acquired the elephant bird egg in 1939 from a London taxidermist for $92. The taxidermist had bought the egg on the island of Madagascar — located off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean — the birds’ native habitat.




The flightless bird grew to be 10 feet tall, weighed between 770 and 1,100 pounds and laid the largest eggs of any vertebrate — even dinosaurs. It went extinct more than 600 years ago.



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