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Re: beaks, teeth, gastroliths, unzipper-foot-claws

Kiwis are not an exception, and require careful handling (I know, because I 
have held one).  Their feet are very strong.

 Ronald Orenstein
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, ON L5L 3W2

----- Original Message ----
From: Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2009 9:23:20 PM
Subject: Re: beaks, teeth, gastroliths, unzipper-foot-claws

On Tue, Jul 28th, 2009 at 10:16 AM, B tH <soylentgreenistrex@yahoo.com> wrote:

> I wish we could have got the cassowary docu here in the states - I'll look 
> for it online.  If
> these guys can use their feet in a deadly way then surely the 'terror birds' 
> could have?

Most modern ratites will use their feet for defense if they have no other 
choice (I'm assuming kiwi's 
are an exception!), however cassowaries have specialised inner toe claws 
roughly the size and 
shape of a large carving knife. 

Here's a rather frightening image:

As far as I know, 'terror birds' had no such specialised toe. However ostriches 
and emus (which 
also lack a 'killing claw') can also do a fair amount of kicking damage. Then 
again, they don't have 
a terrifyingly hooked beak to fall back on.


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist                Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia              http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj