Vorombe titan: the largest bird ever lived

Vorombe titan: the largest bird ever lived

Until recently, the Aepyornis maximus, a bird endemic to Madagascar until its extinction about 1000 A.D was regarded as the largest bird of all time. However, in 2018 the largest aepyornithid specimens, weighing up to 730 kilograms (1,600 lb), were moved to the related genus Vorombe.

Vorombe is one of three genera of elephant birds. Back in 1894, British scientist Charles William Andrews (30 October 1866 – 25 May 1924) described Aepyornis titan, the extinct “Elephant Bird” of Madagascar

But, in a 2018 study, James Hansford and Samuel Turvey, two researchers from the Zoological Society of London, found that it was sufficiently distinct from Aepyornis and allocated it in the new genus Vorombe. They also recognized Aepyornis ingens as a synonym of Vorombe titan.

Vorombe titan weighed 536 to 732 kg (mean: 642.9 kg) and grew up to a height of 10 feet (3 meters) in height.

Their largest femur (MNHN MAD 368) measured by Hansford and Turvey could not be formally assigned to a cluster (group) as it was incomplete. The specimen is thought to belong to Vorombe on the basis of its size. It had a “least-shaft circumference of 308 mm and a corresponding mass estimate of 860 kg (1,896 lbs), making it the largest bird individual ever recorded.”

Image: AFP PHOTO / ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON / JAIME CHIRINOS

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