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Definition of "ratite" [rat•ite]

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

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "ratite" in a sentence
  • "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)."
  • "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."
  • "So the ratite lineage combines aspects of both endemism and relictualism—endemism at the level of species, relictualism at the level of the group."