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Re: WHEN CASSOWARIES ATTACK



>On Fri, 17 Aug 2001 darren.naish@port.ac.uk wrote:
>
>> Cassowaries
>> dislike dogs and will attack them without provocation, presumably
>> because feral dogs and dingos often prey on cassowaries.
>
>Do we think this is a learned response, then?  It could be a fixed action
>pattern: "see four-legged beast and attack it."  If so, the
>selective force for this behavior would be what: extinct mega-fauna, or
>dingoes (is 5,000 years? long enough to evolve such a
>behavior?--probably).
>Aggressiveness, _per se_ must be innate.
>I wonder if aggressiveness is variable among continental vs. NG
>species?  Did NG have the amount of megafauna that Australia did? Dingoes?


I'd always assumed that cassowaries are more aggressive because of where
they live.  Other ratites live in open country, and their normal response
to any kind of threat is to turn and run away.  Cassowaries live in rain
forests, and the turn-and-run option is not always open to them.

------------------------
Christopher A. Brochu
Assistant Professor
Department of Geoscience
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242

christopher-brochu@uiowa.edu
319-353-1808 phone
319-335-1821 fax