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Feature Creature: Cassowary

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Feature Creature: Cassowary

Tara Afshar, Journlist

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The evidence showing what dinosaurs were like in the past still lives today, and is known as a “living fossil”. A Cassowary, or Casuarius is the Earth’s second heaviest bird and native to New Guinea, nearby islands, and Australia. This flightless bird is closely related to ostriches, emus, and kiwis, has vestigial wings, and has incredibly strong legs. With the ability to jump 5 feet in the air, a Cassowary’s legs is its most deadly weapon; this is why it’s vital to not make a Cassowary feel threatened. Their crest sit at the top of their head and many have speculated that it is there to attract a Cassowary of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, due to the lack of study on the endangered species many assume the crest has no purpose. However, recent study has shown the claws of a Cassowary are actually scaly which stands as a transitional species between birds and dinosaurs. This recent finding also paves the way for another discovery in which due to the fact that Cassowaries and dinosaurs aren’t mammals, they don’t roar like many dinosaurs are said to have roar. This prehistoric creature makes a low frequency noise, referred to as a “boom”. The “boom” is the lowest known call of any bird and it right at the edge of human hearing.

During its mating season, a female Cassowary breeds with multiple male partners and after she lays them the eggs and abandons then. After the female leaves, it is up to the males to take care of their young, or “clutch”. The male Cassowaries will raise their clutch until they are able to fend for themselves in the wild. The diet for any Cassowary big or small, usually consists of fruits, berries, fungi, and the occasional dead animal for necessary protein. As Cassowaries are nearly extinct, Australia puts a lot of effort into keeping these “living fossils” alive. In fact, while living in the wild, average lifespan of a Cassowary is about 19 years but in many zoos they can last up to about 40 years. This gives many people hope in restoring this prehistoric creature back to its former glory.

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Feature Creature: Cassowary