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2 Posts tagged with the easter tag

Phew, it's been a busy few weeks at the Museum!  With snow outside and schools on holiday, everyone was keen to visit the Museum and to mark the Easter holidays we decided to programme some suitably festive Nature Live events ... my favourite being Eggs-tinct! If you weren't able to see it in person, here are a few highlights:


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No egg event at the Museum is complete without reference to dinosaurs and Museum curator Lorna Steel brought along this beauty! A REAL dinosaur egg!


Equally, no egg event would be complete without the largest egg in the world ...


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No, this isn't some clever perspective, camera trickery - this really is the size of the largest kind of egg in the world (with Lorna's average sized hand above). This one belongs to an extinct Elephant Bird, a species that once lived in Madagascar. These birds were huge - at 3 m tall they were far larger than today's Ostriches - and consequently laid very, very big eggs. EGGs-traordinary!


Easter eggs

Posted by Aoife Apr 6, 2010

From the tiny Hummingbird egg, to the awesome Ostrich egg, for Easter Nature Live went a little egg-crazy.


I have to apologise in advance, its going to be impossible to get through this without making some terrible egg-related puns. So I might as well start with one.


Our egg-cellent egg curator Douglas Russell joined us from the bird group, based out at the NHM in Tring, Hertfordshire, for our eggy celebrations. Douglas looks after some really rather special collections, going back hundreds of years, and his egg-spert knowledge was put to good use as he egg-splained why he thinks eggs are 'The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe'.


Its all to do with just how perfectly they have evolved to look after the tiny, developing chick - and to show us, he cracked open a massive Ostrich egg - its much easier to see the features scaled up! From tiny pores that allow the exchange of gas through the shell, to a self-righting system inside so that the embryonic chick is always closest to the warmth from its brooding parents, all a tiny bird could need to start its life off is contained within the calcium carbonate shell. The same features are present right down to the tiniest bird eggs around - the Hummingbird egg, about the size of your little finger nail!


Although Ostriches produce the biggest egg of any bird alive today, there used to be one to beat it - the Elephant Bird, now sadly extinct, used to produce an egg even bigger!




And if you want to see for yourself, you can see a range of amazing eggs if you visit the Bird Gallery, in the Green Zone at the Museum.