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Re: WHEN CASSOWARIES ATTACK



Ummm...

In stark contrast to this: Bettong repopulation in the wild in the Shark
Bay area (...it was from a CAVEPS lecture a few years ago) was being
hampered by fox predation so an experiment was performed to see how the
animals reacted to canine predators. A big, ferocious dog was muzzled and
tethered in an enclosure with some Bettongs - instead of cowering in their
burrows the little guys were lining up to get acquainted, hopping around
the dog and sniffing it.

It would seem that in the wild, the Bettongs displayed a similar innocent
curiosity towards introduced foxes - to the catastrophic point in which the
foxes were not even bothering to eat the marsupials, a single predator
wiping out a whole community of Bettongs then moving on, leaving a mass of
bloody corpses.

So, Bettongs have absolutely no innate fear towards canine predators yet
were abundant up until the turn of the century - which of course begs the
question about how they survived the dingo...(the question was raised at
the lecture by Mike Archer and it was suggested that the dingo was a
domestic critter for most of it's history here, only recently going feral).

Cheerio
Brian
>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?