Lastly must be noted the extinct tall Ratite species of Aepyornis with its several fancy genera.
The genus Struthio forms the type of the group of Ratite birds, characterized chiefly by large size, breast-bone without a keel, strong running legs, rudimentary wings and simple feathers (see Bird).
He concisely cites (p. 238) no fewer than eight other characters of more or less value as peculiar to the Carinate Division, the first of which is that the feathers have their barbs furnished with hooks, in consequence of which the barbs, including those of the wing-quills, cling closely together; while among the rest may be mentioned the position of the furcula and coracoids, 4 which keep the wing-bones apart; the limitation of the number of the lumbar vertebra to fifteen, and of the carpals to two; as well as the divergent direction of the iliac bones - the corresponding characters peculiar to the Ratite Division being the disconnected condition of the barbs of the feathers, through the absence of any hooks whereby they might cohere; the non-existence of the furcula, and the coalescence of the coracoids with the scapulae (or, as he expressed it, the extension of the scapulae to supply the place of the coracoids, which he thought were wanting); the lumbar vertebrae being twenty and the carpals three in number; and the parallelism of the iliac bones.
From Samos a large stork, Amphipelargus, and a typical Struthio; from the Sivalik Hills on the southern flanks of the Himalayas also an ostrich, and another Ratite with three toes, Hypselornis, as well as Leptoptilus, Pelecanus and Phalacrocorax.
MOA, apparently the Maori name of the extinct Ratite birds in New Zealand, comprising the group Dinornithes (cf.
In South America another large Ratite bird, the rhea, is called ostrich; it can be distinguished at once from the true ostrich by its possession of three toes.
Although loss of flight (correlated with more or less reduction of the wings and the sternal keel, and often compensated by stronger hind limbs) has occurred, and is still taking place in various groups of birds, it is quite impossible that a new Ratite can still come into existence, because the necessary primitive substratum, whence arose the true Ratitae, is no longer available.