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Temporal range: Quaternary
Mullerornis agilis.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Aepyornithiformes
Family: Aepyornithidae
Genus: Mullerornis
Milne-Edwards & Grandidier 1894
  • Mullerornis modestus (Milne-Edwards & Grandidier, 1869) (type)
Mullerornis map.jpg
Map of Madagascar showing where specimens have been found
  • Flacourtia Andrews 1895
  • Mullerornis betsilei Milne-Edwards & Grandidier, 1894
  • Mullerornis agilis Milne-Edwards & Grandidier, 1894
  • Mullerornis rudis Milne-Edwards & Grandidier, 1894[1]

Mullerornis is a genus of extinct elephant birds (Aepyornithidae) of Madagascar.


Mullerornis is smaller than the more well-known Aepyornis.[2][3] A bone possibly belonging to Mullerornis has been radiocarbon dated to about 1260 BP,[4] suggesting that the animal was still extant at the end of the first millennium.[5] Aepyornis modestus was shown by Hansford and Turvey (2018) to be a senior synonym of all nominal Mullerornis species described by Milne-Edwards and Grandidier (1894), resulting in the new combination Mullerornis modestus.[6]


The genus is named after Georges Muller, a French explorer who was killed in 1892 by hostile members of the Sakalava people.


  • Mullerornis betsilei Milne-Edwards & Grandidier, 1894[7] (Betsile elephant-bird)
  • Mullerornis agilis Milne-Edwards & Grandidier, 1894 (Agile/coastal elephant-bird)
  • Mullerornis rudis Milne-Edwards & Grandidier, 1894[1] (Robust elephant-bird)
    • Flacourtia rudis (Milne-Edwards & Grandidier, 1894) Andrews, 1895
  • ?Mullerornis grandis Lamberton 1934 (holotype destroyed in a fire in 1995)


  1. ^ a b Davies, S. J. J. F. (2003)
  2. ^ Burney, et al. (1997), p. 763
  3. ^ MacPhee, et al. (1985), table II
  4. ^ Burney, et al. (2004), p. 50
  5. ^ Burney et al. (2004), p. 25
  6. ^ Hansford, J. P.; Turvey, S. T. (2018-09-26). "Unexpected diversity within the extinct elephant birds (Aves: Aepyornithidae) and a new identity for the world's largest bird". Royal Society Open Science. 5 (9): 181295. doi:10.1098/rsos.181295.
  7. ^ Julian P. Hume; Michael Walters (2012). Extinct birds. T&AD Poyser. p. 544. ISBN 1408158612.


  • Burney, David A.; James, Helen F.; Grady, Frederick V.; Rafamantanantsoa, Jean-Gervais; Ramilisonina; Wright, Henry T.; Cowart, James B. (1997). "Environmental change, extinction and human activity: Evidence from caves in NW Madagascar". Journal of Biogeography. 24 (6): 755–767. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2699.1997.00146.x.
  • Burney, David A.; Burney, Lida Pigott; Godfrey, Laurie R.; Jungers, William L.; Goodman, Steven M.; Wright, Henry T.; Jull, A. J. Timothy (2004). "A chronology for late prehistoric Madagascar". Journal of Human Evolution. 47 (1–2): 25–63. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2004.05.005. PMID 15288523.
  • Davies, S. J. J. F. (2003). "Elephant birds". In Hutchins, Michael. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. 8 Birds I Tinamous and Ratites to Hoatzins (2 ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. pp. 103–104. ISBN 0-7876-5784-0.
  • MacPhee, R. D. E.; Burney, David A.; Wells, N. A. (1985). "Early Holocene chronology and environment of Ampasambazimba, a Malagasy subfossil lemur site". International Journal of Primatology. 6 (5): 463–489. doi:10.1007/BF02735571.