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

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    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


  • MemoFromEssex
    MemoFromEssex   1 weeks ago

    More proof that the universe is a hologram and the programmer was lazy

  • PM
    PM   1 weeks ago

    Please make a video about the Australian megafauna!

  • PM
    PM   1 weeks ago

    Ratites are my favourite birds, especially Cassowaries! :)

  • Liam MacBean
    Liam MacBean   3 weeks ago

    for the moa, i believe you mean they went extinct after european settlers arrived. aboriginal people were there for far far longer and didn't go around sacking the environment

  • Ape Fistivist
    Ape Fistivist   1 months ago

    If they could become intelligent, whoa. Imagine that they start using their "wings" more so that they can manipulate things, and become large brained. They would dominate terrifyingly.

  • רועי סיני
    רועי סיני   1 months ago

    If these birds stopped flying independently and relatively lately, do they have living flying relatives that are closer to them than they are close to each other?

  • James Simmons
    James Simmons   1 months ago

    First time I ever saw someone hold his arms up like that for seven minutes. Pretty impressive.

  • José Gómez
    José Gómez   1 months ago

    Wait, at 1:28 you said Gondwana at 80 mil BP but wasn't that Pangea?

  • Ya tú sabes Neta que sabe

    Estás aves extintas hace no demasiado deberíamos esforzamos por revivir y no otras criaturas que ni siquiera compartieron ecosistema con nosotros como especie acá un excelente video del ave del terror https://youtu.be/amUhDAyYvkY

  • Abhipraay Sharma
    Abhipraay Sharma   1 months ago

    TBH if dinosaurs were still alive...they would be not...cause humans would have hunted them to extinction or atleast to the stage of critically endangered🤔

  • Mads D
    Mads D   2 months ago

    I want Moa! I want some Moa PBS Eons videos!

  • MullBerryMouse MB
    MullBerryMouse MB   2 months ago

    Is there a single video that goes over the evolution of birds and if they are dinasours?

  • lolliman21
    lolliman21   2 months ago

    Funny cause humans ain't learnt much from the past cause animals ate still going extinct.

  • Kalevipoeg
    Kalevipoeg   2 months ago

    Of course they became flightless and large over and over again. It's in their genes - their DNA 'remembers' the original dinosaur form and wants to get back to that because that worked quite well for 160 million years. IMAGINE if they'd re-evolve teeth and clawed hands - that alone would make them a LOT more dangerous for, say, a cheetah or dingo to try to attack. If anything, they'd be eating the mammals if they re-evolved dinosaurian traits like pack hunting, large heads with sharp teeth, clawed hands and long, strong tails. Such a group of neo-theropods would quickly dominate the African or Australian landscape. And I predict, eventually, that is what will happen - one day, millions of years from now when the human species has eradicated most large mammals and is itself extinct, birds will mount a massive comeback and usher in a new "age of the dinosaurs". Some will retain flight, surely, but once the large mammals are all gone, they will do the same thing the mammals did when the large dinosaurs were gone: explode in evolutionary terms and take advantage. They're only unable to do that right now because the top niches were grabbed by mammals. But mammals' time will come EVENTUALLY, even if it's in another 50 million years. Sooner or later, birds will reclaim the earth. It's just a shame I won't be around to witness my prediction coming true because it sure would be cool to see.

  • Lucy Thomas
    Lucy Thomas   2 months ago

    please make a video about WHO IS STEVE and why is his name always said with exclamation who is Steve

  • angel whispers
    angel whispers   3 months ago

    Actually being huge and flightless is probably a big reason humans hunted them FYI. They're gigantic eggs may have been awesome. But humans in a fully survival minded situation are not going to pass up the meat of a gigantic thing that can't fly away

  • Hakon Soreide
    Hakon Soreide   3 months ago

    In the video you say that the ostrich of African should be closely related to the elephant bird of Madagascar because of being on the same continent, but Madagascar hasn't been connected to Africa for 162 million years, so, no, they shouldn't be closely related according to the Moa's Ark theory.And later you show an ostrich on a nest saying how "producing and protecting such big egges puts a burden on the mother" showing a communal ostrich nest which is exactly how they have solved the problem of that burden, sitting on the eggs also to a large extent done by the father, so not a good illustration of the point you were trying to make.So, while most of your videos are good, there is some room for improvement in this one.

  • John Lestrange
    John Lestrange   3 months ago

    Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't scientists trying to resurrect elephant birds, moas and other animals we made go extinct?

  • Dein Silver Drac
    Dein Silver Drac   3 months ago

    Does haast eagle can really kill a moaI mean look at modern raptor they attack animal smaller than them Or not twice bigger than them(Fox or in mountain eagle hit goat and eat the goat after the fall of 60 meters )a eagle can T do that in a forestFor me the haast eagle can only kill young moa (max emu sized moa)

  • Sydney Patrick Marsh
    Sydney Patrick Marsh   3 months ago

    Yes our people brought the Moa to its extinction its a known fact but we were a primitive people back then..dam how so much has changed in so little time...

  • Gaming with DinoTaur
    Gaming with DinoTaur   4 months ago

    Next video : when fish stopped swimmingNext to next: when reptiles stopped crawling 1 millionth video : sorry but I ain't that witty to complete the comment

  • kismet
    kismet   4 months ago

    Man humans suck.

  • Smog723
    Smog723   4 months ago

    Moa-nalo: giant flightless geese of Hawaiihttps://www.pnas.org/content/99/3/1399

  • Arlo Stocker
    Arlo Stocker   4 months ago

    please video on the Eagle they are the perfect apex predator and I love they are from the same place as me

  • Jim James
    Jim James   4 months ago

    No mention of chickens? I know mankind had something to do with influencing their evolution but,always a but,

  • Radiant Star
    Radiant Star   4 months ago

    Ratites weren't the only giant flightless birds. When did terror birds fly?

  • Aira Andrea
    Aira Andrea   4 months ago

    Once again, a story of humans causing species to go instinct. It's been thousands of years and humans just never learn.

  • mapletree
    mapletree   4 months ago

    you could say that they are basically dinosaurs

  • Fadimations
    Fadimations   5 months ago

    Does this mean that ratites are technically non-avian dinosaurs, as they can no longer fly? Or does the avian designation have to do with phylogenetics n stuff?