/rat"uyt/, adj.
1. having a flat, unkeeled sternum, as an ostrich, cassowary, emu, or moa.
2. a bird having a ratite breastbone.
[1875-80; < L rat(is) raft + -ITE2]

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Any bird species that cannot fly because its smooth, or raftlike, sternum (breastbone) lacks a keel to which flight muscles can be anchored.

The group includes some of the largest birds of all time. Two extinct types, the slow-moving, heavy-bodied elephant bird of Madagascar and the moas of New Zealand, grew to 10 ft (3 m) tall. Extant ratites include the cassowary, emu, kiwi, ostrich, and rhea.

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      any bird whose sternum (breastbone) is smooth, or raftlike, because it lacks a keel to which flight muscles could be anchored. All species of ratites are thus unable to fly. They are a peculiar and puzzling group, with anatomic anomalies. The group includes some of the largest birds of all time, such as the moa (q.v.) and the elephant bird (Aepyornis). Extant ratites include the ostrich, emu, cassowary, rhea, and kiwi (qq.v.).

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Ratite — Rat ite (r[a^]t [imac]t), a. (Zo[ o]l.) Of or pertaining to the Ratit[ae]. n. One of the Ratit[ae]. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ratite — ● ratite nom masculin (latin ratis, radeau) Oiseau aux pattes robustes, aux ailes rudimentaires, tel que l autruche, le nandou, l émeu, le casoar et le kiwi, incapable de voler …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ratite — [rat′īt] adj. [< L ratitus, marked with the figure of a raft < ratis, raft, prob. < IE base * rēt , *rōt , beam > ROOD] designating a former group (Ratitae) of large, flightless birds of various orders having a flat breastbone without …   English World dictionary

  • Ratite — Taxobox name = Ratites image width = 258px image caption = Various ratite birds regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves superordo = Paleognathae ordo = Struthioniformes ordo authority = Latham, 1790 subdivision ranks = Families… …   Wikipedia

  • ratite — noun Etymology: ultimately from Latin ratitus marked with the figure of a raft, from ratis raft Date: 1877 a bird with a flat breastbone; especially any of various mostly flightless birds (as an ostrich, rhea, emu, moa, or kiwi) with small or… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ratite — rat•ite [[t]ˈræt aɪt[/t]] adj. 1) orn having a flat, unkeeled sternum, as an ostrich, cassowary, emu, or moa 2) orn a bird having a ratite sternum • Etymology: 1875–80; < L rat(is) raft + ite II …   From formal English to slang

  • ratite Ornithology — [ ratʌɪt] adjective denoting a bird having a flat breastbone without a keel and so unable to fly, such as an ostrich, emu, etc. Contrasted with carinate. noun a ratite bird. Origin C19: from L. ratis raft + ite1 …   English new terms dictionary

  • ratite bird — noun flightless birds having flat breastbones lacking a keel for attachment of flight muscles: ostriches; cassowaries; emus; moas; rheas; kiwis; elephant birds • Syn: ↑ratite, ↑flightless bird • Ant: ↑carinate (for: ↑ratite) …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ratite — Struthioniformes Struthioniformes …   Wikipédia en Français

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