Named By: J. P. Hansford & S. T. Turvey - 2018.
Synonyms: Aepyornis ingens, Aepyornis titan.
Classification: Chordata, Aves, Aepyornithiformes, Aepyornithidae.
Species: V. titan (type).
Size: Larger individuals about 3 meters tall.
Known locations: Madagascar.
Time period: Extinction roughly estimated about 1000AD.
Fossil representation: Remains of numerous individuals including eggs.
described as a species of Aepyornis,
A. titan was declared distinct
enough to be its own genus in 2018. The new genus name Vorombe
basically means ‘big bird’, which is fitting because Vorombe
well be the largest of the currently known ‘elephant birds’. The
‘elephant birds’ which is the colloquial name for members of the
Aepyornithidae, were very large and heavy flightless birds that once
lived in Madagascar. These birds lived within the Madagascan forests
probably looking for things like fruits to eat. An over development
of sense of smell while having relatively poor eyesight is thought to
suggest that elephant birds like Vorombe were more
active at night
while using the sense of smell to find food.
The elephant birds like Vorombe are thought to have died out by about 1000AD. Human predation, especially of elephant bird eggs is thought to have been the primary factor, though avian diseases inadvertently carried by livestock transported by humans to Madagascar may have also been a factor.
- Unexpected diversity within the extinct elephant birds (Aves: Aepyornithidae) and a new identity for the world's largest bird. - Royal Society Open Science. 5 (9): 181295. - J. P. Hansford & S. T. Turvey - 2018.
- Nocturnal giants: evolution of the sensory ecology in elephant birds and other palaeognaths inferred from digital brain reconstructions. - Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Christopher R. Torres & Julia A. Clarker - 2018.