Only the much older species Dromornis stirtoni from Australia is known to rival it in size among the fossil record and is reported to have shared the same estimated upper weight, 500 kg (1,100 lb).Aepyornis maximus is commonly known as the 'elephant bird', a term that apparently originated from Marco Polo's account of the rukh in 1298, although he was apparently referring to an eagle-like bird strong enough to "seize an elephant with its talons".
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he settlement of the Indian Ocean’s largest island is one of the great mysteries in humanity’s colonization of the globe.
Yet the Austronesians stopped short of the African coast. The Asian crops were common on the Comoros and on Madagascar, but rare on the East African coast.
“There was a culinary frontier,” says Alison Crowther, an archaeologist at the University of Queensland, St. Her team collected more than 2400 samples of botanical remains at 20 sites on the African mainland and on offshore islands and Madagascar, and obtained 43 radiocarbon dates from crop seeds. The line traced by the study shows that the two regions, although close geographically, were worlds apart in their way of life, suggesting a wholesale colonization of Madagascar and the Comoros.
Historically, the largest ethnic group is the Merina located on the high plateau.
The traditions of this group (e.g., turning the bones of the dead) represent many Malagasy, and are often portrayed in tourist documents as the primary island traditions.
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Domestically, however, in the political arena, there is a significant degree of regionalism that is loosely based on ethnicity.