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Encyclopedia > Ratite
Various ratite birds
Various ratite birds
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Superorder: Paleognathae
Order: Struthioniformes
Latham, 1790

Struthionidae (ostriches)
Rheidae (rheas)
Casuariidae (emus etc.)
Aepyornithidae (elephant birds)
Dinornithidae (moa)
Apterygidae (kiwis) Image File history File links Size of this preview: 739 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (829 × 673 pixel, file size: 1. ... For other uses, see Scientific classification (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Typical Classes See below Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates. ... For other meanings of bird, see bird (disambiguation). ... Orders Lithornithiformes Ambiornithiformes Gansuiformes Paleocursornithiformes Dinornithiformes Aepyornithiformes Struthoniformes Rheiformes Casuariiformes Apterygiformes Tinamiformes The Paleognathae or paleognaths (old jaws) are one of the two living superorders of birds. ... John Latham John Latham (June 27, 1740 - February 4, 1837) was an English physician, naturalist and author. ... // Binomial name Carolus Linnaeus, 1758 The present-day distribution of Ostriches. ... Species R. americana R. pennata The Rhea, also known as ñandú (pronounced ) in Spanish, or ema in Portuguese, is a large flightless ratite bird native to South America. ... Genera Casuarius Dromaius For fossil forms, see article The bird family Casuariidae has four surviving members: the three species of cassowary, and the only remaining species of Emu. ... Genera Aepyornis Mullerornis Elephant birds are an extinct family of flightless birds comprising the genera Aepyornis and Mullerornis. ... Genera Anomalopteryx (bush moa) Euryapteryx Megalapteryx (upland moa) Dinornis (giant moa) Emeus Pachyornis Moa were giant flightless birds native to New Zealand. ... Species See text. ...

A ratite is any of a diverse group of large, flightless birds of Gondwanan origin, most of them now extinct. Unlike other flightless birds, the ratites have no keel on their sternum and, lacking a strong anchor for their wing muscles, could not fly even were they to develop suitable wings. The name ratite comes from the Latin word for raft (ratis), because their breastbone looks like a raft. Flightless birds evolved from flying ancestors; there are about forty species in existence today. ... For other uses of Gondwana and Gondwanaland, see Gondwana (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into bird skeleton. ... The sternum (from Greek στέρνον, sternon, chest) or breastbone is a long, flat bone located in the center of the thorax (chest). ...

Most parts of the former Gondwana have ratites, or have had until the fairly recent past. For other uses of Gondwana and Gondwanaland, see Gondwana (disambiguation). ...


Living forms

The African Ostrich is the largest living ratite. A large member of this species can be nearly 3 meters (9.9 feet) tall, weigh as much as 159 kg (350 lbs), and can outrun a horse. // Binomial name Carolus Linnaeus, 1758 The present-day distribution of Ostriches. ...

Of the living species, the Australian emu is next in size, reaching up to 2 m (6.6 feet) tall and about 60 kg (132 lbs). Like the ostrich, it is a fast-running, powerful bird of the open plains and woodlands. For other uses, see EMU. Binomial name (Latham, 1790) The Emu has been recorded in the areas shown in orange. ...

Also native to Australia and the islands to the north are the three species of cassowary. Shorter than an emu and very solidly built, cassowaries prefer thickly vegetated tropical forest. They can be very dangerous when surprised or cornered. In New Guinea, cassowary eggs are brought back to villages and the chicks raised for eating as a much-prized delicacy, despite (or perhaps because of) the risk they pose to life and limb. Species Casuarius casuarius Casuarius unappendiculatus Casuarius bennetti Cassowaries (genus Casuarius) are very large flightless birds native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and northeastern Australia. ...

South America has two species of rhea, mid-sized, fast-running birds of the Pampas. The larger American rhea grows to about 1.5 meters(5 feet) tall and usually weighs 20 to 25 kg (44 to 55 lbs). (South America also has 73 species of the small and ground-dwelling but not flightless tinamou family, which is distantly related to the ratite group.) South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... Species R. americana R. pennata The Rhea, also known as ñandú (pronounced ) in Spanish, or ema in Portuguese, is a large flightless ratite bird native to South America. ... The pampas (from Quechua for plain) are the fertile lowlands that extend across c. ... Binomial name Rhea americana (Linnaeus, 1758) The American Rhea (Rhea americana), also known as the Gray, Common, or Greater Rhea is not only the largest species of rhea but the largest American bird, with adults averaging 30 kilograms (66 lb). ... Genera Tinamus Nothocercus Crypturellus Rhynchotus Nothoprocta Nothura Taoniscus Eudromia Tinamotis The tinamous are one of the most ancient groups of bird, members of a South American bird family of about 47 species in 9 genera. ...

The smallest ratites are the five species of kiwi from New Zealand. Kiwi are chicken-sized, shy, and nocturnal. They nest in deep burrows and use a highly developed sense of smell to find small insects and grubs in the soil. Kiwi are notable for laying eggs that are very large in relation to their body size. A Kiwi egg may equal 15 to 20 percent of the body mass of a female kiwi. The smallest species of kiwi is the Little Spotted Kiwi, at 1.2 kg (2.7 lbs) and 40 cm (16 inches). Species See text. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Species A kiwi is any of the species of small flightless birds native to New Zealand of the genus Apteryx (the only genus in family Apterygidae). ...

Extinct forms

Aepyornis, the "elephant bird" of Madagascar, was the largest bird ever known. Although shorter than the tallest moa, a large Aepyornis could weigh over 450 kg (1,000 lbs) and stand up to 3 meters (10 feet) tall. Species Aepyornis hildebrandti Aepyornis medius Aepyornis maximus Aepyornis is an extinct genus of flightless bird. ... Genera Anomalopteryx (bush moa) Euryapteryx Megalapteryx (upland moa) Dinornis (giant moa) Emeus Pachyornis Moa were giant flightless birds native to New Zealand. ...

Moa - at least eleven species in New Zealand, ranging from turkey-sized, to the Giant Moa Dinornis giganteus with a height of 3.3 meters (11 feet) and weighing about 250 kg (550 lbs)[1]. Extinct by 1500 due to hunting by human settlers, who arrived around 1000, although at least one species may have survived past this date and maybe was seen by early European settlers. Genera Anomalopteryx (bush moa) Euryapteryx Megalapteryx (upland moa) Dinornis (giant moa) Emeus Pachyornis Moa were giant flightless birds native to New Zealand. ... 1500 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Europe in 1000 The year 1000 of the Gregorian Calendar was the last year of the 10th century as well as the last year of the first millennium. ...

In addition, eggshell fragments similar to those of Aepyornis were found on the Canary Islands. The fragments apparently date to the Middle or Late Miocene, and no satisfying theory has been proposed as to how they got there due to uncertainties about whether these islands were ever connected to the mainland. Anthem: Arrorró Capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife Official language(s) Spanish Area  â€“ Total  â€“ % of Spain Ranked 13th  7,447 km²  1. ... The Miocene Epoch is a period of time that extends from about 23. ...

Evolution and systematics

There are two taxonomic approaches to ratite classification: the one applied here combines the groups as families in the order Struthioniformes, while the other supposes that the lineages evolved mostly independently and thus elevates the families to order rank (e.g. Rheiformes, Casuariformes etc.). Look up taxonomy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The hierarchy of scientific classification In biological classification, family (Latin: familia, plural familiae) is a rank, or a taxon in that rank. ... In scientific classification used in biology, the order (Latin: ordo, plural ordines) is a rank between class and family (termed a taxon at that rank). ...

The traditional account of ratite evolution has the group emerging in Gondwana in the Cretaceous, then evolving in their separate directions as the continents drifted apart. Cladistic analysis of morphology strongly supports this: ratites share too many features for their current forms to be parsimoniously explained by convergent evolution[citation needed]. However, recent analysis of genetic variation between the ratites conflicts with this: DNA analysis appears to show that the ratites diverged from one another too recently to share a common Gondwanian ancestor, and suggests that the kiwi are more closely related to the cassowaries than the moa[citation needed]. At present there is no generally accepted explanation. Also, there is the Middle Eocene fossil "proto-ostrich" Palaeotis from Central Europe, which either implies that the ancestral ratites had not yet lost flight when they were dispersing all over Gondwana - by the Middle Eocene, both Laurasia and Gondwana had separated into the continents of today - or that the "out-of-Gondwana" hypothesis is wrong. Research continues, but at present the ratites are perhaps the one group of modern birds for which no robust theory of their evolution and paleobiogeography exists. Current opinion is tentatively supporting a splitting of the group, with the Struthioniformes sensu stricto being one of the last ratite lineages to emerge. // The Cretaceous Period is one of the major divisions of the geologic timescale, reaching from the end of the Jurassic Period (i. ... It has been suggested that Clade be merged into this article or section. ... The term morphology in biology refers to the outward appearance (shape, structure, colour, pattern) of an organism or taxon and its component parts. ... Look up parsimony in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In evolutionary biology, convergent evolution is the process whereby organisms not closely related, independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches. ... Palaeotis is a large neognath bird from the Eocene epoch Categories: | ... Laurasia was a supercontinent that most recently existed as a part of the split of the Pangaean supercontinent in the late Mesozoic era. ... Biogeography is the science which deals with patterns of species distribution and the processes that result in such patterns. ...

Gallery of Living Species

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  Results from FactBites:
Station Information - Ratite (246 words)
The ratites are a group of flightless birds, most of which are now extinct.
Ratites are found, or were found until fairly recently, in most parts of the former supercontinent Gondwana.
The smallest ratites are the kiwis, which are the size of chickens, shy, and almost blind.
Healthspa - Ratite Neuromuscular Diseases (1367 words)
Ratite birds are a loose group of birds that share the common characteristics of being large, flightless and ground dwelling birds.
All ratites have digital cushions similar to that of the horse, although the ostrich digital cushion is contiguous along the plantar aspect of the weight bearing digit, and the other ratites have cushions only underneath the joints.
The thoracic girdle of the ostrich consists of a fused scapula, coracoid and clavicle attached to the cranial sternum.
  More results at FactBites »



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