When Birds Stopped Flying

  • Published on: 14 November 2018
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    Ratites have spread to Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. And there are fossils of Ratites in Europe, Asia, and North America too. That’s a lot of ground to cover for birds that can’t fly. So how did Ratites end up all over the world?

    Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the Lithornithid reconstruction. Check out more of Ceri's paleoart at http://alphynix.tumblr.com and http://nixillustration.com

    Thanks as always to Nobu Tamura for allowing us to use his wonderful paleoart: http://spinops.blogspot.com/

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios

    Super special thanks to the following Patreon patrons for helping make Eons possible:

    Katie Fichtner, Aldo Espinosa Zúñiga, Anthony Callaghan, Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle, Gregory Donovan, Ehit Dinesh Agarwal, الخليفي سلطان, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Anel Salas, Robert Arévalo, Robert Hill, Kelby Reid, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, PS, Colin Sylvester, Philip Slingerland, John Vanek, Jose Garcia, Noah offitzer, Eric Vonk, Tony Wamsley, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Sapjes, Daisuke Goto, Hubert Rady, Yuntao Zhou, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Maly Lor, Joao Ascensao, Tsee Lee, Sarah Fritts, Ruben Winter, Ron Harvey Jr, Jacob Gerke, Alex Yan

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  • Runtime : 7:32
  • dinosaurs dinos paleo paleontology scishow eons pbs pbs digital studios hank green john green complexly fossils natural history Giant Moa flightless birds Haast Eagle Ratites Moa’s Ark Vicariance hypothesis kiwi ostrich emu Elephant Bird Rhea Tinamou Gondwana Lithornis Lithornids Demon Ducks Terror Birds herbivorous birds


  • Luis Hoyos
    Luis Hoyos   1 days ago

    How did penguins came to be, will they become marine creatures ?

  • MarloSoBalJr
    MarloSoBalJr   1 weeks ago

    Man the Aussies sure did dodge a bullet against those damn Giant Moas.Oh!... They lost to the hairy chickens known as "Emus?"...

  • Xdeser 2
    Xdeser 2   1 weeks ago

    The picture at 6:07 feels weird and anachronistic considering that 2500 years ago roughly was contemporaneous with Alexander the Great, Qin Shi Huang, The Founding of the Roman Republic and the Mayan city states, and not, like, early man.

  • creepy whiteTrash
    creepy whiteTrash   1 weeks ago

    So in definition what is a ratite? With the amount of convergent evolution going on there sure only one continent is the home of a 'true ratite'

  • Oxyaena
    Oxyaena   1 weeks ago

    "if size is so advantageous why did the biggest of the bunch, the moas and the elephant bird, go extinct? well that's easy - it's because of us" so blunt lmfao

  • Saraza
    Saraza   2 weeks ago

    I wonder what that common ancestor had that made the species predisposed to evolving in a very similar way in multiple environments?

  • David Sau
    David Sau   2 weeks ago

    Sounds like massive job vacancies

  • James
    James   2 weeks ago

    I think what makes this particular case of human-caused extinction so frustrating is that it happened so recently. Like the Roman empire would have fallen around the same time Moa when extinct. Living in NZ, it's such a shame that such an awesome product of evolution came so close to being able to reach modern NZ where it would have been protected and studied.

  • MonsterDude
    MonsterDude   3 weeks ago

    Giant Kudo: every day is a leg day in the New Zealand.

  • Adewale King
    Adewale King   3 weeks ago

    Great video, interested in seeing the evolution of crustaceans and genetic difference that make modern species successful in varying climate throughout the world.

  • Xynnful
    Xynnful   3 weeks ago

    Wait, if we didn't choose to strive, people could've had wings.

  • Christopher Conkright

    Maybe the ability to evolve into flightless birds is easier with the genetic make up they have so the odds of it happening multiple times was more likely.

  • bespectacled fop
    bespectacled fop   3 weeks ago

    How about another episode on other flightless bird families?

  • rochrich
    rochrich   4 weeks ago

    Large flightless birds walking around farms are likely turkeys.

  • Tristan Bulluss
    Tristan Bulluss   1 months ago

    I got attacted by an emu once. It pecked me and stole my sandle. Im bigger than an emu now so I could mess one up. Never again.

  • Vernon Yanke
    Vernon Yanke   1 months ago

    Another possibility to consider. A worldwide humanoid civilization that transported these animals from one continent to the other ever think about that? More plausible I think.

  • kailomonkey
    kailomonkey   1 months ago

    Pretty obvious if you take evolution seriously. Evolution will fill the same moulds many separate times! Not just once,

  • Alkis Mavridis
    Alkis Mavridis   1 months ago

    Hello everyone. Thanks for your awesome job! I have a request :) It would be AWESOME if you would make a video explaining thd differences between paleognathae and neognathae. I have many times tried to go through the wikipedia articles and really understand how those guys differ, but there is so much anatomical terminology with so many unknown terms that I give up every time! Would be great if we would have a simplified and intuitive explanation with pictures showing the differences etc. And one more point: I think there are no such material online for dummies like me, at least I haven't found any, so a video from you would be a GREAT contribution. Thanks in advance!

  • Da Hai Zhu
    Da Hai Zhu   1 months ago

    2:02 "But in the late 2000's" - huh? We still haven't made it to the mid-2000's. "Late" is not for another 50 years or so.

  • Juan Diego Celemín Mojica

    Wait, so all ratites descend from a common ancester? How come no other group of birds left the skies to become giant?

  • Dulce Arias
    Dulce Arias   1 months ago

    I don’t know how I stumbled upon this channel a couple days ago, but I’m obsessed!

  • Vincent Gonzalez
    Vincent Gonzalez   1 months ago

    when you are sad people didn't farm to share the meat for the future generations

  • seti48
    seti48   1 months ago

    I wonder how they tasted.

  • Steve S
    Steve S   1 months ago

    There is a recent study that shows Elephant birds where most likely nocturnal and had poor vision. http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology/nocturnal-elephant-birds-06563.html

  • Shadowstar Prime
    Shadowstar Prime   2 months ago

    The only way the extinct radites are coming back is if humans go extinct

  • a.i. c.
    a.i. c.   2 months ago

    Steve, i believe in steve!