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CT scan unscrambles rare, ancient egg

From Bozeman, Mont., at the 61st annual meeting of the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology

A tangled heap of bones and bone fragments found inside an ancient bird egg may

soon be reassembled thanks to high technology–and scientists won't even have to

crack open the egg to do it.

Huge flightless birds called elephant birds strolled their Madagascar homeland

until they went extinct about 400 years ago. Believed to be the heaviest birds

that ever lived, they weighed half a ton and were about 3 meters tall. Their eggs

were the largest single cells in the animal kingdom and could hold about 7.5

liters of material.

When researchers at the University of Texas at Austin recently performed a

computerized tomography (CT) scan of an unbroken elephant bird egg, they

discovered a tiny, dismembered skeleton. Amy M. Balanoff, a vertebrate

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