Inside the Cassowary’s Casque

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Inside the Cassowary’s Casque
Tetrapod Zoology ver 3
Published 15 February 2015
Link [1]
Comments Pending
Word Count 2165

Among the most interesting, most aberrant of palaeognaths are also among the most poorly known. I’m talking about the black-plumaged, elaborately adorned cassowaries of eastern Australia, New Guinea, and various of the islands around and between these two regions.

Summary[edit]

Darren discusses an old Tet Zoo favorite — cassowaries! He's worked on them since the late 1990's and finally got around to publishing Naish & Perron (2014). Turns out there are a lot of unknowns about cassowaries since it's tough studying them without getting wrapped up in political intrigue. There are three recognized species of cassowary although evidently their taxonomy needs to be revised; one complication is that people have apparently been moving them around! The casque of cassowaries has a leathery keratinous surface, and bony 'shell' formed of trabeculae. Physical functions of the casque are anecdotal and unlikely and Darren opts for the function being a visual sexual display.