Aepyornis maxima, which laid enormous eggs, and not unnaturally recalls the mythical " roc " that figures so largely in Arabian tales.
Lastly must be noted the extinct tall Ratite species of Aepyornis with its several fancy genera.
Order Aepyornithes.-Aepyornis, recently extinct, Madagascar.
A diagnosis covering all the Ratitae (struthio, rhea, casuarius, dromaeus, apteryx and the allied fossils dinornis and aepyornis) would be as follows - (i) terrestrial birds without keel to the sternum, absolutely flightless; (ii) quadrate bone with a single proximal articulating knob; (iii) coracoid and scapula fused together and forming an open angle; (iv) normally without a pygostyle; (v) with an incisura ischiadica; (vi) rhamphotheca compound; (vii) without apteria or bare spaces in the plumage; (viii) with a complete copulatory organ, moved by skeletal muscles.
The relationship with Aepyornis of Madagascar is still problematic. Whilst the moas seem to have been entirely herbivorous, feeding not unlikely upon the shoots of ferns, the kiwis have become highly specialized wormeaters.
These have been arranged in twelve species, belonging to two genera, Aepyornis and Mullerornis, which varied in size from that of a bustard to birds much exceeding an ostrich, and rivalling the recently extinct moa of New Zealand, the largest species being about to ft.