Dromaeognathae have a struthious palate, with a broad vomer meeting in front the broad maxillo-palatal plates, while behind it reaches the pterygoids.
The fossil egg of a struthious bird, Struthiolithus, has been found near Cherson, south Russia, and in north China.
The following year Ranzani of Bologna, in his Elementi di zoologia - a very respectable compilation - came to treat of birds, and then followed to some extent the plan of De Blainville and Merrem (concerning which much more has to be said by and by), placing the Struthious birds in an Order by themselves.
But it was now made to appear that the struthious birds in this respect resembled, not only the duck, but a great many other groups - waders, birds-of-prey, pigeons, passerines and perhaps all birds not gallinaceous - so that, according to Cuvier's view, the five points of ossification observed in the Gallinae, instead of exhibiting the normal process, exhibited one quite exceptional, and that in all other birds, so far as he had been enabled to investigate the matter, ossification of the sternum began at two points only, situated near the anterior upper margin of the side of the sternum, and gradually crept towards the keel, into which it presently extended; and, though he allowed the appearance of detached portions of calcareous matter at the base of the still cartilaginous keel in ducks at a certain age, he seemed to consider this an individual peculiarity.
As regards the struthious birds, they could not be likened to the duck, for in them at no age was there any indication of a single median centre of ossification, as Geoffroy had satisfied himself by his own observations made in Egypt many years before.
The Ratitae comprehend the struthious birds, which differ from all others now extant in the combination of several peculiarities, some of which have been mentioned in the preceding pages.
1 4 This peculiarity had led some zoologists to consider the struthious birds more nearly allied to the Mammalia than any others.
The earliest account of these birds is that of Polack (New Zealand, London, 1838), who speaks of the former existence of some struthious birds in the north island as proved by fossil bones which were shown to him.
Non-committal as regards evolution, he vastly broadened the field of vertebrate palaeontology by his descriptions of the extinct fauna of England, of South America (including especially the great edentates revealed by the voyage of the " Beagle "), of Australia (the ancient and modern marsupials) and of New Zealand (the great struthious birds).
Considering the state of systematic ornithology at the time, Shaw's assignment of a position to this new and strange bird, of which he had but the skin, does him great credit, for he said it seemed "to approach more nearly to the Struthious and Gallinaceous tribes than to any other."
Struthious birds, was placed beyond cavil, and the author called upon all interested in zoology to aid in further research as to this singular form.
CASSOWARY (Casuarius), a genus of struthious birds, only inferior in size to the emeu and ostrich, and, according to Sir R.
Sclater, "On the Struthious Birds living in the Zoological Society's Menagerie," Transactions, iv.
Some Hexapods which are very primitive in other respects happen to be also Apterous, but this cannot be held to prove that the possession of wings is not a primitive character of Hexapods (compare the case of the Struthious Birds).