One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of a bird) having a flat breastbone without a keel, and so unable to fly.Contrasted with carinate
- ‘About 30 years ago, Joel Cracraft sketched out the central melodies of ratite evolution.’
- ‘Further data of the energetic cost of breeding for males and females of other ratite species would be valuable for testing that hypothesis.’
- ‘They may well have been native to Africa - just one link in a continuous chain of ratite species that circled Gondwana until it broke up.’
- ‘What aspect of the ratite genome accounts for the larger size relative to volant birds?’
- ‘When the ratite birds first roamed Gondwana, they could walk from any of the places where they later dwelt, to any other.’
Any of the mostly large, flightless birds with a ratite breastbone, i.e. the ostrich, rhea, emu, cassowary, and kiwi, together with the extinct moa and elephant bird.
- ‘They belonged to a primitive group of birds known as ratites.’
- ‘They are found in mammals, turtles, squamates, and crocodilians, as well as a few bird taxa, particularly ratites and ducks.’
- ‘Moas were ratites, flightless birds considered the sister group of all other birds.’
- ‘Other ratites, the elephant bird of Madagascar and the moas of New Zealand, have been extinct for several centuries, probably as a result of human hunting.’
- ‘Cassowaries are large ratites, and are among the largest birds in the world.’
- ‘Living relatives of moa include the emus, ostrich, and kiwi, which are members of a bird group called ratites.’
Late 19th century: from Latin ratis ‘raft’ + -ite.
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