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RE: Sickle-claws (was RE: a little background)



 
I wrote:

> I've read and heard competing views on how the "killer-claw" of 
> cassowaries is used as a weapon against belligerent humans:
> as a spear or rapier to stab or thrust at attackers, or as a sword to
> slash *across* the bellies of humans.  Maybe an individual cassowary 
> has its own style.  

When in doubt, consult the literature...

According to Kofron (1999), the Australian cassowary does both stab and
slash: "The foot can be used as a formidable weapon by extension of the leg
in a quick kick forward or to the side, capable of causing serious injuries
such as lacerations, puncture wounds and ruptures of internal organs."
Ouch.

>From Kofron, C.P. (1999).  Attacks to humans and domestic animals by the
southern cassowary (_Casduarius casuarius johnsonii_) in Queensland,
Australia.  J. Zool. Lond. 249: 375-381.

Apparently cassowaries do attack even when not provoked (though this is
rare), and kicking is used less often than charging.  Cassowaries are also
reported to head butt.



Tim



------------------------------------------------------------ 

Timothy J. Williams 

USDA-ARS Researcher 
Agronomy Hall 
Iowa State University 
Ames IA 50014 

Phone: 515 294 9233 
Fax:   515 294 3163