Watch young David Attenborough try to piece together a massive broken egg shell (given to him by locals) in this 1961 clip from Zoo Quest to Madagascar: The Elephant Bird Egg.
The Elephant Bird was a large, ostrich or emu-like, flightless bird that lived on the island of Madagascar until its extinction, likely in the 17th or 18th century. How tall was it? From Wikipedia:
Aepyornis, believed to have been more than 3 m (10 ft) tall and weighing close to 400 kg (880 lb), was at the time the world’s largest bird. Remains of Aepyornis adults and eggs have been found; in some cases the eggs have a circumference of more than 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and a length up to 34 cm (13 in). The egg volume is about 160 times greater than that of a chicken egg.
Juan Fontanive makes films without using light. Often recycling the mechanical parts of found clocks and pushbikes as the portable containers of his ‘animations’. His interest lies in the beauty of sequential and repetitive movement… Pages fall in neat layers in the manner of a paper fountain, somewhere between film and sculpture - there is no ‘screen’ as such.
“I have a whole freezer full of harvested feathers, of different types and sizes, and I wanted to choose the right ones for this animal. I picked feathers from a male the same age as this bird and they fit perfectly…”
She then whittled small sticks of bamboo so that one end poked into the shaft of the new feather and the other into the shaft still attached to the bird (where the burned feathers had been carefully sheared off).
With a little drop of quick-drying epoxy, she cemented each new feather into place. “If attached right, the new feathers are just as effective as the old ones” in letting a bird do all of its aerial maneuvers, she said….
Video of the performance, in 14 movements that represent different animals — a lion, a turtle, hens and roosters, elephants, fish, kangaroos, and more — was then packaged into an iPad app. It has become one of our favorites, not only due of the mix of animation and live action, but also because of how much time we get to spend with musicians playing beautiful music with their instruments. The video above is the grand finale. Highly recommended, along with these two newer apps from the same label: Pierre et le loup and Les 4 saisons d’Antoine.