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John Bois wrote:
> On Fri, 17 Aug 2001, chris brochu wrote:
> > I'd always assumed that cassowaries are more aggressive because of where
> > they live...

> Maybe so.  Or, alternatively, other ratites live in open country but
> (at highest densities, anyway) they nest in broad grassy areas.  If they
> are discovered by hyenas, lions, or black-backed jackals, the nest is
> lost.  No point in being aggressive.  The cassowary, nesting in the
> forest is at once more likely to be discovered (although the camouflage is
> incredible, a forest supports higher density of vertebrates than the arid
> margins of grasslands) and also more likely to be able to defend itself
> because the predators are not as potent.

I think the best evidence for cassowaries being more aggressive than
emus lies in those carving-knife shaped inner toe claws. You don't
develop something that is so obviously a defensive weapon without the
need to use it. What is it about theropods and inner toe claw weapons
anyway? :)

Plus, forests were once home to several species of the Thylacaleo
family. Emus were probably less prone to predation by them given their
more open habitat. And as far as the dog killing reflex goes, perhaps
Thylacines were the original targets.

"See Spot run. Spot runs fast. Bird runs faster. Where's Spot's head?"


Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
GIS Archaeologist           http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/