Brockswood Lesson: Emus
With the wonderful response we received to our first Brockswood lesson, we thought we'd put another together for you! This time we would love to talk to you about Emus, one of our most fascinating and unique animals, sometimes overlooked for not being quite so cute and cuddly.
The word Emu comes from an Arabic word meaning ‘large bird’, and large they most certainly are! Emus are Australia's largest bird and the second largest bird in the world. They stand about 2 metres tall.
Emus belong to a family of flightless birds called 'Ratites'. Most of this family are now sadly extinct; and only the Emu, Ostrich, Cassowary, Kiwi and Rhea are living today.
Think: Can you name any other animals from Australia?
Research: If the Emu is the second-largest bird in the world, which bird is the largest? We’ll give you a clue; it is one of the other members of the Ratite family. Which bird is the smallest? Can you do a bit of maths and calculate the size difference between these two very different birds?
Research: What does the word 'Extinct' mean? It is very important that we care for animals and stop this from happening to them. This is called 'Conservation'.
Emus have been living in Australia for a very long time. Their ancestors, the Dromornithids, roamed the land when Dinosaurs lived; and they are even thought by some scientists to be “Living Dinosaurs”, as they have many similar or even identical features to their Dinosaur relatives!
Some of these amazing features shared with their Dinosaur ancestors include:
Most birds have what is called a keeled sternum (their breast bone), but Ratites don't have this, like their dinosaur ancestors. This means that they don’t have a strong anchor for their wing muscles that oth