via Ecowatch

An investigation was recently carried out in the dunes of an island located between Australia and Tasmania. In this expedition, it was possible to find a very large egg of Emu, a bird that became extinct only 200 years ago.

The shell of the egg is broken and some parts are missing, but scientists claim that it is the only almost complete Dwarf Emu egg on record on King Island, so this find is very special and unique.

The Dwarf Emu is a species of an emu that didn’t reach half the size that their Emu relatives reached in mainland Australia. This animal became extinct almost 200 years ago for reasons attributed to hunting and the destruction of its habitat by fires intended to clear land for agriculture

The Dwarf Emu egg is practically the same size as that of a normal-sized Emu, it is presumed that this was so because the Dwarf Emu, like its relatives, needed to keep warm while it hatched from the egg and needed to be ready to move around and look for its food.

Julian Hume, a paleontologist and research associate with the National History Museum, London, compared the process of hatching large eggs to the maximum body size experienced by Kiwi, a native New Zealand bird.

“That tactic is because the kiwi has to produce a chick that is ready to go. That’s exactly what the King Island emu was doing ” said Hume.

Geobiology explains that these emus suffered from what is known as island dwarfism. Caused by the fact that before the end of the last ice age the islands of southern Australia were connected to the mainland, but as sea level rose several species of Emu were isolated and thus began an evolutionary process of shrinkage.

This is an incredible discovery that allows scientists to understand more about the recent history of life on our planet.