The world's largest bird egg - a partly fossilized mammoth egg 14 inches long that may be 1 million years old was found in a British museum's storeroom, officials said Saturday.
The egg, which has languished for more than 80 years in a storeroom of the Bristol Museum, was spawned by an elephant bird an extinct species that until the 17th century inhabited southern Madagascar off Africa. The birds were usually about the size of an ostrich but especially large specimens could grow up to 12 feet. Officials say the egg may be up to a million years old.Scientists at the Bristol Museum, 80 miles west of London, said the partly fossilized egg was left in a storeroom until researchers for The Guinness Book of Records notified them recently it was the world's largest.
"It is a huge specimen and we are very proud of it," said Ann Hollowell, the museum's natural history curator. She said it was given to the museum more than 80 years ago by a collector.
"Biologically it is surprising because the egg is technically a single cell and it is unusual to find them 14 inches long. Now that we know it is the world's largest we intend to give it its own display."
"One has some sympathy with the bird which had to lay it," she said.