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Re: SCRAPPING ROOS!
> Cassowaries have a mean second toe claw that can disembowel with
> a kick.
Oddly (perhaps), the nastiest cassowary is the smallest: the Pygmy (=Bennett's)
from New Guinea. It has, purportedly, killed people on several occasions,
whereas I am not aware of deaths resulting from run-ins with Single or Double-
> Ostriches have purportedly killed lions with kicks.
> And of
> course, horses and asses will kick out with their hooves.
Note that fighting zebras try hard to castrate one another - they are not, as
Attenborough states in 'Trials of Life', just trying to bite one another's
achilles tendons! When they sit on their rumps, they are protecting their
testicles, and not their legs. Zoo vet David Taylor recently reported an
operation in which an inflamed zebra testicle revealed a tooth within!
Do excuse my wanderings..
> As for actual intraspecific combat, I haven't heard about the
> ratites using their feet this way, but 'roos do. They face off, punching
> each other with their forelimbs and leaning back on their tails to kick
> their opponents in the chest.
>From what I've seen, fighting roos kick the stomach area, and not the chest.
The skin here is specially thick, and during the fight the animals tense their
stomach muscles as much as possible. Kicks on the stomach produce almighty,
resounding thuds, and fur often gets scraped off by the foot claws (fighting
sheep produce similar noises when they body-butt). The animals also scratch with
their hands, aiming for eyes and face, and opponents throw their heads backwards
to avoid these grappling limps. This is perhaps a possibility for long-armed
coelurosaurs, if they stood up tall against one another, using their tails as
props. As is typical amongst many animals, fighting individuals probably
attempted to make themselves look bigger than their opponents, and standing tall
is the best way to achieve this for bipeds. This habit becomes ritualised, and
fights where individuals stand up tall against one another, as in roos, then
evolve. Interestingly, quadrupeds like varanids and bears rear too to intimidate
rivals, varanids wrestle ventro-ventrally, and lions stand to take swipes at
opponents in ritualised combat.
"At first I was afraid, I was petrified, thinking how I could ever live without
you by my side"