The biggest bird in the world: big, poor eyesight.

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 The biggest bird in the world: big, poor eyesight.


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The largest bird in the world is a kind of elephant bird once living in Madagascar. The flightless giant bird, up to 3 meters high, is a nocturnal animal with almost zero vision. It has been extinct for about 500 to 1000 years.

Elephant birds were once thought to be similar to EMUs and ostriches, but they were active during the day and had good eyesight. Recent studies have shown that elephant birds are more closely related to ostriches, and ostriches are nocturnal animals with poor eyesight, but they are about the size of chickens and mainly live in New Zealand.

Pictorial: optic nerve ratio of elephant bird (middle) with kiwi and Chilean spot

So how does a bird behave at night?

Christopher Torres, a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin, said: Night life tends to be an evolutionary response, either when its too dangerous to go out during the day or when its only at night to find someone to eat.

But in fact, elephant birds are herbivores, and there is no known foraging target. In this case, nocturnal activity may be an ancestral genetic trait shared by birds and macaques.

Torres said researchers found that one of the reasons for the birdsnocturnal activity was that they were sensitive to light, which enabled them to perceive their surroundings in low light conditions. Visual ability of flightless birds is generally reduced and depends on other senses.

They also observed more species of birds, including ostriches, emus, turkeys, ostriches, parrots, phobia and scallops. In these birds, there is a relationship between olfactory evolution and habitat preference. These forest-dwelling species seem to rely on developed olfaction to help them forage when visual signals may be blocked, Torres said. In addition, scientists have radiometric measurements of tool markers observed on the remains of elephant birds and have found that the initial contact between elephant birds and humans dates back thousands of years. Next, Torres wanted to learn more about the evolution of elephant birds. Studying the brain shape of birds is an effective way to combine ecology, the relationship between birds and the environment, and anatomy, he said. Such discoveries provide us with an in-depth understanding of the lives of these strange and incomprehensible birds. Source: NetEase science editor: Qiao Jun Jing _NBJ11279

They also observed more species of birds, including ostriches, emus, turkeys, ostriches, parrots, phobia and scallops. In these birds, there is a relationship between olfactory evolution and habitat preference.

These forest-dwelling species seem to rely on developed olfaction to help them forage when visual signals may be blocked, Torres said. In addition, scientists have radiometric measurements of tool markers observed on the remains of elephant birds and have found that the initial contact between elephant birds and humans dates back thousands of years.

Next, Torres wanted to learn more about the evolution of elephant birds. Studying the brain shape of birds is an effective way to combine ecology, the relationship between birds and the environment, and anatomy, he said. Such discoveries provide us with an in-depth understanding of the lives of these strange and incomprehensible birds.