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 Buffalo News reported .
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 paper said.
Museum records showed a previous curator had acquired the Elephant Bird egg in 1939 from a London taxidermist for $92, the Buffalo News reported.
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.
Experts say there are fewer than 40 intact elephant bird eggs held in public institutions.
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