The Washington Post

Egg from extinct elephant bird sells for more than $100,000

How much is the big, partially fossilized egg of an extinct giant bird worth? Well, someone paid more than $100,000 for this egg at an auction in London. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

A massive, partly fossilized egg laid by an extinct elephant bird has sold for more than $100,000 at a London auction.

Christie’s auction house said the winning bidder paid $101,813 for the foot-long egg, nearly nine inches in diameter.

Before the sale, it had been estimated that someone would pay $30,000 to $46,000 for the egg. It was sold to an anonymous buyer over the telephone after about 10 minutes of bidding.

Elephant birds were wiped out several hundred years ago. Human activity, including hunting the eggs for food, is thought to have helped the birds disappear.

The egg was laid on Madagascar, an island off the coast of Africa. It is believed to date to before the 17th century.

Flightless, fruit-gobbling elephant birds resembled giant ostriches and could grow to
11 feet tall. Their name comes from a mythological bird that was thought to be big enough to grab an elephant in its claws.

Christie’s said their eggs are 100 times the size of an average chicken’s egg.

Show Comments

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.