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Hey folks. I have the _Sinosauropteryx_ paper in hand: much
interesting stuff on compsognathid digits (relevant to recent
discussions) as well info on eggs, stomach contents and much more.
I'll post about it later.
Anyway, Jim Farlow wrote..
> I noticed that the big ungual on digit II of a male cassowary,
>_Casuarius unappendiculatus_, was something like 20% longer
> than on a similarly sized foot of a female of the same species.
> The horny claw on digit II on a study skin of a male of _C. bennetti_,
> and also a male of _C. unappendiculatus_, looked positively
> enormous. I don't remember seeing anything in the published
> literature about possible sexual dimorphism in the nasty digit
> II claw of cassowaries. Does anybody out there know if such
>sexual dimorphism has in fact been documented in these birds?
I consider myself well read on ratites (and modest too), and, what
can I say: wow! While there are _numerous_ allusions to sexual
dimorphism in cassowaries, these refer only to a size difference:
females are bigger. Female emus are bigger than males too,
incidentally. From my notes (so, sorry, no complete refs) it also
seems that females are more brightly coloured than males: Pizzey
(1991) states 'female averages slightly larger, heavier than males...
wattles and skin of neck brighter', Simpson and Day (1994) [best
field guide on extant dinosaurs ever published] says 'females
slightly larger, brighter coloured'.
In fact, one is hard pressed to find any mention of the
hyperenlarged sickle-claw of cassowaries in the literature
(though there are frequent mentions of the horrific disemboweling
kicks the birds can wield), and to my knowledge no-one has ever
observed sexual dimorphism in the claw. Want to co-write a paper
"They don't see it. None of them see it. But I see it"