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

Re: emu invasion

John Bois wrote:

> 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.

The ratites of prehistoric Australia may certainly have had an easier time than 
their North American cousins.  That doesn't mean they got a free ride.  Your 
repatriated emu might have been faced by locals like _Thylacoleo_, which was no 
slouch when it came to predation.  (Check out the papers by Wroe & McHenry on 
_Thylacoleo_ biomechanics and bite force, for example.)  Although one fact in 
the emu's favor is that _Thylacoleo_ appears not to have been all that quick on 
its feet, giving the emu an advantage in open terrain.  

There was also the thylacinids, which once inhabited mainland Australia - 
especially _Thylacinus potens_, the larger, stronger relative of the recently 
extinct _T. cynocephalus_.

There's also the possibility that emus faced a challenge closer to home 
(phylogenetically speaking) from the dromornithids, if (and this is a big *if*) 
these "demon ducks of doom" (!) were predators.