non-avi·​an | \ ˌnän-ˈā-vē-ən How to pronounce non-avian (audio) \
variants: or nonavian

Definition of non-avian

1 : not of or relating to birds : not avian … assorted nonavian creatures whirring, buzzing and croaking.— Richard Conniff nonavian anatomy
2 : of, relating to, or being a non-avian dinosaur non-avian theropods

Examples of non-avian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But when an asteroid crashed into Earth 66 million years ago, killing all the nonavian dinosaurs, the pterosaurs’ reign also came to a close. Michael B. Habib, Scientific American, "Pterosaurs Were Monsters of the Mesozoic Skies," 1 Oct. 2019 Starting in the 1980s, after Luis and Walter Alvarez hypothesized that a meteor impact wiped out the nonavian dinosaurs, teams of geologists searched fruitlessly for evidence of meteor strikes that could explain the other mass extinctions. National Geographic, "Earth has had more major mass extinctions than we realized," 18 Dec. 2019 The fossils include downy feathers for insulation, a fluffy protofeather that most likely belonged to a nonavian dinosaur, and one complex flight feather like those on the wings of modern birds. John Pickrell, National Geographic, "In a first, fossil dinosaur feathers found near the South Pole," 18 Nov. 2019 That’s a longer tenure than the nonavian dinosaurs. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Fossil 'conga lines' reveal origins of animal swarms," 17 Oct. 2019 Death to the dinosaurs The gravitational interactions among TNOs may also explain another strange event: the extinction of the nonavian dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. Nola Taylor Redd,, "No Need for Planet Nine? Small Objects' Gravity Could Explain Weird Orbits," 5 June 2018 This was shortly before the mass extinction event 66 million years ago that killed off all the pterosaurs alongside the nonavian dinosaurs. National Geographic, "Ancient Flying Predator Found in Transylvania," 8 May 2018 In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Proceeding of the Royal Society B, the team has identified three characteristics in land-dwelling mammals, reptiles and nonavian dinosaurs that may be linked with evolving bony tail weapons. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, "Where Did Animals With Tail Weapons Go? Here’s a Back Story," 16 Jan. 2018 These early and abundant birds still had small teeth in their beaks and went extinct along with the nonavian dinosaurs 66 million years ago. John Pickrell, National Geographic, "Ticks That Fed on Dinosaurs Found Trapped in Amber," 12 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'non-avian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of non-avian

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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The first known use of non-avian was in 1907

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Cite this Entry

“Non-avian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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