[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

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."

>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.



Timothy J. Williams 

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

Phone: 515 294 9233 
Fax:   515 294 3163