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Re: CLIMBING CLAWS




On Sat, 12 Dec 1998, Ronald Orenstein wrote:

> The cassowary (aside from being quite
> earthbound) has a long, straight claw quite useless for climbing, but ideal
> as a stabbing weapon.

I don't know if anyone saw the Discovery (I think) episode where the
an Australian ranger makes the mistake of climbing into a
cassowary's pen.  The bird made a murderous lunge at him causing him to
cry, as he dove over the fence: "You're a very naughty bird!"

And how strange that so few birds--only the cassowary?--have
both the means (vicious claw) and the nature (vicious temperament) to pose
a serious threat to Man.  Any hypotheses for that?  I have one, of course.
It is the biggest bird to nest in a forest.  As such it depends upon
cryptic coloring.  However, because forests support high predator density
such nests are prone to discovery.  In Australia this is not so
bad because a significant proportion of would-be nest predators can be
easily bested.  But "naughty birds" don't seem to do well elsewhere.