By examining the DNA of fossils of flightless bird species, these birds became extinct 66 million years ago. evolved after dinosaurs conclusion has been reached. So when the predators became extinct, these birds wanted to accumulate more energy and fat, and they constantly mixed with the ground to feed.
So these birds basically forgot their ability to fly. The descendants of flightless birds to the Mesozoic era until it lasts. Let’s explore these interesting bird species together.
Ratites: the earliest ancestors of ratites
Ostriches, crested ostriches (cassowaries), nandus (rhea), kiwis, moas, and emular are members of the ratites. These birds can’t fly the effect of anatomical structures is also quite large. For example, the spinal cord, which is attached to the pectoral muscles of flying birds, is missing in these birds. For this reason, the sternum of the ratites is flat and the wings are quite small. In addition, the bodies of such birds are excessively large compared to their wings. For this reason, unfortunately, these adorable creatures cannot find the strength in their wings to lift themselves. The essence of the word; their body structure makes them suitable to be terrestrial birds, not air birds.
Not all birds thought to be from the Ratit family actually belong to the same family tree.
Scientific research has determined that “moas”, which are already extinct to this day, are another ancestor of ratites. For example, tinamou birds, similar to moas, didn’t exactly have the characteristics of ratites. The fact that their breasts are vertebrates sets these birds apart from others Though it looks like birds that can fly The bone structure of the palate was similar to ratites. In fact, there are physiological differences in these birds, as well as in the process of their evolution to non-flying.
These are the flightless birds:
There are 18 species of penguins and none of them can fly. The fact that their wings are very short, thick and strong compared to other birds gives them success when swimming in water. They too waddle to the water to swim and look so sweet.
There are 4 species in the group of steamer ducks, 3 of which are flightless. Mostly the male, even if some fly because they are so fat He has bad luck with flying. Wekas are chicken-like birds that live in New Zealand. Although their heads and legs resemble flying birds, they tend to walk because their wings do not have the ability to fly.
On the other hand, kiwi birds cannot fly because their wings are atrophied. Kakapo, that is, owl parrots, entered the literature as the only flightless parrots in the world. As I mentioned above, although ostriches can accelerate up to 72 kilometers per hour, because of their physique they can’t fly. Takah only uses their wings to find mates, but they can’t fly. These birds were hitherto known to be extinct; until it was rediscovered in 1948. Although the feathers of crested ostriches are a protective shield for them, unfortunately that shield cannot switch to flight mode.
So why did they die out so quickly compared to other birds?
Ice ages and volcanic eruptions often lead to the extinction of many animals, but these birds are the biggest cause of the extinction of humans. However, studies have shown that birds that lose their ability to fly are better than birds that can fly. more prone to extinction it has been said. In the past 126,000 years, 581 bird species have become extinct. Today there are only 60 flightless bird species left.
If we now consider the causes of the extinction in more detail, we can first of all say that it is never safe for these birds to live on the islands. For when people began to settle on the islands, the ecosystem is against these birds. is changed. Not even knowing how to fear people, these birds became food for people and their pets.
For example, dodos quickly became extinct because they were easy prey. These birds, which live in the forests of Mauritius, became a food source for people and the pigs they brought with them when the Dutch and Portuguese discovered the island. Likewise, elephant birds were the birds that lived happily in Madagascar until about 1,500 years ago, but these bird species were also affected by urbanization. to deforestation sacrificed. Another example, the great auk, went extinct in 1844, when they were captured by humans in the 1800s as they migrated along the North Atlantic coast.
Actually it is interesting; ratites developed the flightless response in a predator-free environment. Again, interestingly, they died out because of these characteristics. So basically for them only danger predators It was not. Humans, pigs, mice and many other species were dangerous to these birds. They also perished because their inability to fly made them more vulnerable than flying birds. As we have seen, as long as every living thing does not act in accordance with its own nature, natural selection comes into play and it becomes inevitable that some will be eliminated.
Sources: Science ABC, Science ABC 2, Geographic New Zealand, Live Science, The New York Times
Source: Web Tekno