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Chordates

A phylum including organisms with bilateral symmetry and a nerve cord among other traits.

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Topic

Flightless Birds

Why It Matters

Speed To Burn

The fastest land mammal is the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) with a top speed of 70 MPH, the fastest land reptile in the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis) at 21 MPH. But what about the fastest land bird?

But what happens when an ostrich meets a cheetah? Well, sometimes this happens...

The ostrich (Struthio camelus) can be up to 9 ft. tall and weigh 350 lbs., the elephant bird of Madagascar Aepyornis maximus, which went extinct about 400 yrs ago, reached 10 ft.in height and weighed close to 880 lbs, Dinornis robustus (a species of Moa which went extinct 700 yrs ago in New Zealand) reached 12 ft. tall and weighed around 500 lbs. After watching the above video, imagine what it would have been like to face one of these species of bird. Then think about dinosaurs.

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Use information in the resource below to answer the questions that follow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfVNsGFlCpY

  1. Ostriches are the fastest creatures to run on two legs, what traits make this possible?
  2. Name at least two unique characteristics of an ostrich's eye.
  3. What helps an ostrich with thermal regulation?
  4. What is the name of the group of large flightless birds that ostriches belong to?

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