Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Relating to or being any of a group of flightless birds having a flat breastbone without the keellike prominence characteristic of most flying birds.
  • noun A ratite bird, such as the ostrich or emu.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Raft-breasted, as a bird; having a flat breast-bone or sternum with no keel; having no keel, as a breast-bone; ecarinate; of or pertaining to the.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective (Zoöl.) Of or pertaining to the Ratitæ.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A bird of the order of Struthioniformes, a diverse group of large running, flightless birds, mostly extinct, but including the cassowary, elephant bird, emu, kiwi, moa, ostrich, rhea and tinamou

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun flightless birds having flat breastbones lacking a keel for attachment of flight muscles: ostriches; cassowaries; emus; moas; rheas; kiwis; elephant birds

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Latin ratītus, marked with the figure of a raft (in reference to the lack of the keellike prominence), from ratis, raft.]

Examples

  • Given that a few other Eocene European tetrapods have been suggested to be particularly closely related to South American taxa (namely the ratite Palaeotis, the peradectine opossums and the supposed anteater Eurotamandua), Ameghinornis and Aenigmavis were thought to perhaps indicate that phorusrhacids had originated in Europe and later spread (via Africa) to South America (Peters & Storch 1993).

    Archive 2006-11-01

  • Given that a few other Eocene European tetrapods have been suggested to be particularly closely related to South American taxa (namely the ratite Palaeotis, the peradectine opossums and the supposed anteater Eurotamandua), Ameghinornis and Aenigmavis were thought to perhaps indicate that phorusrhacids had originated in Europe and later spread (via Africa) to South America (Peters & Storch 1993).

    More on phorusrhacids: the biggest, the fastest, the mostest out-of-placest

  • Palaeotis, a small ratite argued by some to be a stem rhea, has more recently been found to be outside of the clade that includes rheas, ostriches, cassowaries and emus.

    Archive 2006-11-01

  • Palaeotis, a small ratite argued by some to be a stem rhea, has more recently been found to be outside of the clade that includes rheas, ostriches, cassowaries and emus.

    More on phorusrhacids: the biggest, the fastest, the mostest out-of-placest

  • But the ratite lineage in general, with its heritage of gigantism and flightlessness, is relictual on Australia, New Guinea, and New Zealand and was until recently on Madagascar, having held out in those places while long ago disappearing from the mainlands.

    The Song of The Dodo

  • So the ratite lineage combines aspects of both endemism and relictualism—endemism at the level of species, relictualism at the level of the group.

    The Song of The Dodo

  • So the ratite lineage combines aspects of both endemism and relictualism—endemism at the level of species, relictualism at the level of the group.

    The Song of The Dodo

  • Only a few naturalists of the last century came to grips with any of the ratite questions.

    The Song of The Dodo

  • Only a few naturalists of the last century came to grips with any of the ratite questions.

    The Song of The Dodo

  • The ostrich is an exception, a ratite that inhabits the African mainland.

    The Song of The Dodo

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