This bird would make an egg-shaped mass out of the ashes of the previous bird using a sweet-smelling resin called myrrh and aromatic leaves for the purpose and fly with it to the Temple of the Sun at Heliopolis in Egypt.
There, it would place the egg on the altar, bow to the Sun and fly away, only to return in another 500 years.
Some scholars are of the opinion that this fanciful tale was woven around a real bird - New Guinea's bird-of-paradise. This bird with its resplendent golden plumage fits the description of the phoenix. In 1957, Australian anthropologists found that New Guinea aboriginals had been supplying bird-of-paradise feathers to foreign traders for centuries. To make the feathers unpalatable to moths and other insects while they were being transported across sea and land to distant markets as far away as Arabia, the feathers were wrapped in myrrh and banana leaves that had been treated in fire to make them more flexible. The final result was a package with an egg-like shape.
The myth of the phoenix may have been created by an imaginative writer who saw the golden feathers being taken out of their scorched egg-like containers, in the land of Phoenicia (now southern Syria).