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Fw: emu invasion resend

Sorry that the previous email had some junk from a table that was invisible when I sent it.
----- Original Message ----- From: "john bois" <jbois@verizon.net>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 11:26 PM
Subject: Re: emu invasion

----- Original Message ----- From: "Tommy Tyrberg" <tommy.tyrberg@norrkoping.mail.telia.com>
To: <jbois@verizon.net>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Sunday, January 04, 2009 2:46 PM
Subject: SV: emu invasion

Emus back in Oz survive predation by dingoes and presumably by
thylacines, Sarcophilus and Thylacoleo in the past. Coyotes probably
aren't that much more efficient predators than dingoes.

True. And yet...I am still surprised at their success in North America. The diversity of large flightless birds is so low, one wonders at the success of the body plan in any location (except predatorless islands, of course--was it eleven or so species of moa on NZ before man?). And in almost all continental ratites, success seems dependent upon arid grassy habitat (presumably its value lies in providing good nesting cover at low predator density). In that sense, Texas may be perfect...a home away from home. But whereas in Australia the emu has little to worry about outside the dingo, in Texas they have to deal with coyote, red fox, gray fox, raccoon, weasel, spotted, striped, and hog-nosed skunks, and bobcats; and in recent history they would also have had wolves. Indeed, any ratite trying to make a go of it in the Texas of prehistoric times would apply for instant repatriation back to Oz when it took one look at a dire wolf or an American lion. However, just as in Australia where emus thrive inside a vast fence designed to keep the bloody dingoes out, they may make it in Texas thanks to aggressive predator extirpation.