The sternum has no keel, and ossifies from lateral and paired centres only; the axes of the scapula and cora.coid have the same general direction; certain of the cranial bones have characters very unlike those possessed by the next order - the vomer, for example, being broad posteriorly and generally intervening between the basisphenoidal rostrum and the palatals and pterygoids; the barbs of the feathers are disconnected; there is no syrinx or inferior larynx; and the diaphragm is better developed than in other birds.'
In them the vomer, however variable, always tapers to a point anteriorly, while behind it includes the basisphenoidal rostrum between the palatals; but neither these nor the pterygoids are borne by its posterior divergent ends.
The maxillo-palatals are bound together (whence the name of the " Suborder ") across the middle line, either directly or by the ossification of the nasal septum.
The vomer is broad, abruptly truncated in front, and deeply cleft behind, so as to embrace the rostrum of the sphenoid; the palatals have produced postero-external angles; the maxillo-palatals are slender at their origin, and extend obliquely inwards and forwards over the palatals, ending beneath the vomer in expanded extremities, not united either with one another or with the vomer, nor does the latter unite with the nasal septum, though that is frequently ossified.
They have the chief characteristics of the Polynesian, with Malay affinities, and peculiarities such as the use of suffixes and inseparable pronouns and, as in Tagal, of the infix to denote changes in the verb; in the west groups there is a tendency to closed syllables and double consonants, and a use of the palatals ch, j, sh, the dental th, and s (the last perhaps only in foreign words), which is alien to the Polynesian.