Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 978 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ODONTOLCAE..COLYMBO-+PELARGO- ALECTOROMORPHAE..RATITAE MORPHAE MORPHAE NEORNITHES The Odontolcae seem to be an early specialized offshoot of the Colymbo-Pelargomorphous brigade, while the Ratitae represent a number of side branches of early Alectoromorphae. The Ratitae branched off, probably during the Eocene period, from that still indifferent stock which gave rise to the Tinami+Galli+Gruiformes, when the members of this stock were still in possession of those archaic characters which distinguish Ratitae from Carinatae. It follows that new groups of Ratitae can no longer be developed since there are no Carinatae living which still retain so many low characters, e.g. configuration of the palate, precoracoid, pelvis, intestinal convolutions, copulatory organ, &c. Loss of the keel is co-ordinated with the power of using the forelimbs for locomotion; although a " Ratite " character, it is not sufficient to turn a Notornis, Cnenziornis or Stringops, not even a Phororhacos into a_ member of the Ratitae. Another branch of the Alectoromorphae, in particular of the Galliformes, when these were still scarcely separated from the Gruiformes, especially rail-like birds, leads through Opisthocomi to the Cuculiformes. These are, again in an ascending direction, connected with the Coraciiformes, out of which have arisen the Passeriformes, and these have blossomed into the Oscines, which, as the apotheosis of bird life, have conquered the whole inhabitable world. (H. F. G.) BIRD-LOUSE, any small flat degenerate wingless neuropterous insect of the group Mallophaga, parasitic upon birds and mammals and feeding upon dermal excretions or upon the softer parts of hair and feathers. The term " biting-lice " is sometimes given to these parasites, in allusion to the mandibulate character of their mouth-parts, which serves to distinguish them at once from the true lice of the order Rhynchota in which the jaws are haustellate. BIRD'S-EYE, a name applied to various small bright flowers, especially those which have a small spot or " eye " in the centre. The primula is thus spoken of, on account of its yello* centre,also the adonis, or " pheasant's eye," and the blue veronica, or germander speedwell. The word is also applied to a sort of tobacco, in which the stalks (of a mottled colour) are cut uto together with the leaves. From a similar sense comes the phrase " bird's-eye maple," a speckled variety of maple-wood, or the " bird's-eye handkerchief " mentioned in Thackeray's novels.
End of Article: ODONTOLCAE

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