the flightless elephant bird was the largest of the ratites (raft-chested birds, lacking the keel to which flying birds anchor their wing muscles) whose members include ostrich, emu, moa, cassowary, and rhea. It probably survived into the 17th century, contemporary with Europeans in Fort Dauphin, but no white man saw one. Complete eggs are still occasionally found, and fragments are common. Arab sailors knew of a giant bird somewhere in the Indian Ocean, and conceived of it as being able to carry off an elephant, hence the legend of the Roc known from Marco Polo and the tales of Sinbad.
Alternative forms for Aepyornis : Elephant Bird, Roc, Rukh.