NATURE: Big Birds Can't Fly
Of all the birds he's filmed over the years, David Attenborough finds these big birds the most comical. They are the Flintstones of the bird world - a group whose lineage can be traced back to when dinosaurs walked the earth. The ostrich, the emu, and the rhea - together with the kiwi and the cassowary - are essentially the court jesters of the avian world, because they can't do the one thing that birds are famous for doing. They can't fly. But exactly how - and why - did these birds abandon flight? It's been one of the natural world's great mysteries. And now DNA is promising to give us the answer.
Among their number is the fastest bird on land, whose chicks hatch ready to run. One has dagger-sharp talons; another, killer thighs. One is a bird that is heard, but seldom seen, and only in the pitch black dead of night, does it call. So you could say these groups of birds are real oddballs. But they're a family with a remarkable success story…despite having never flown a day in their lives.
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