The scapula is sabre-shaped, and extends backwards over the ribs, lying almost parallel to the vertebral column.
Coracoid and scapula fused.
- Scapula, coracoid and clavicle, meet to form the foramen triosseum, through which passes the tendon of the supracoracoideus, or subclavius muscle to the tuberculum superius of the humerus.
The sternum has no keel, and ossifies from lateral and paired centres only; the axes of the scapula and cora.coid have the same general direction; certain of the cranial bones have characters very unlike those possessed by the next order - the vomer, for example, being broad posteriorly and generally intervening between the basisphenoidal rostrum and the palatals and pterygoids; the barbs of the feathers are disconnected; there is no syrinx or inferior larynx; and the diaphragm is better developed than in other birds.'
The scapula is usually narrow, with a long acromion; the clavicles may be altogether absent or imperfect, as in porcupines, cavies and hares, but in most species are well developed.
Scarcely anything is known of the sternum, and little of the shoulder-girdle, except the very stout furcula; scapula typically bird-like.
The scapula is long and slender, the supra-scapular border being rounded, and slowly and imperfectly ossified.
A diagnosis covering all the Ratitae (struthio, rhea, casuarius, dromaeus, apteryx and the allied fossils dinornis and aepyornis) would be as follows - (i) terrestrial birds without keel to the sternum, absolutely flightless; (ii) quadrate bone with a single proximal articulating knob; (iii) coracoid and scapula fused together and forming an open angle; (iv) normally without a pygostyle; (v) with an incisura ischiadica; (vi) rhamphotheca compound; (vii) without apteria or bare spaces in the plumage; (viii) with a complete copulatory organ, moved by skeletal muscles.