A Thigh Bone from an “Elephant Bird”

Whilst on a recent visit to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, a beautiful specimen of a femur from an extinct “elephant bird” was spotted in a display case on the ground floor.    The thigh bone is purported to come from the genus Aepyornis, we suspect that from the robust nature of the bone, this is from A. maximus, or the bone may have to be classified to the genus Vorombe, following a reassessment of the largest specimens.

The Robust Left Femur on Display at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Elephant bird left femur.

Aepyornis (elephant bird) left femur but possibly representing the genus Vorombe.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Native to Madagascar

Following the first taxonomic revision of the Aepyornithidae for more than fifty years, the species formerly known as Aepyornis titan was renamed Vorombe titan and it is the largest member of the bird family known to science.  It has been calculated that V. titan stood around three metres tall and weighed approximately 800 kilograms.

Whether or not the left femur represents A. maximus or V. titan, one thing is for sure, that’s a very strong looking leg bone.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article on the taxonomic revision of the Aepyornithidae: The World’s Largest Bird – Ever!

If you look carefully, where the internal structure of the bone is exposed, the honey-comb texture (pneumacity) can be observed.  This is a feature common to both avian and many non-avian dinosaurs.

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