Dinopic of the day 3: it’s ALIVE! and beautiful

Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) at the Tierpark Berlin.

Berlin has two zoos, which have a common administration. This is a result from the East/West-rivalry: obviously, the capital of the German Democratic Republic had to have a better zoo than the bourgeois decadent west, and obviously free West-Berlin had to have a better zoo than the oppressive, communist, socialist puppets of Moscow. And both, for ego reasons, wanted as many rare and exotic animals as they could get. In sum, there are now two zoos of totally different character (detailed posts to come), together showing an amazing number of species. Both are nice and special in their own ways, and I will post more on them soon.

As for today’s pic: Cassowaries are cool birds. What makes them especially cool to me is that their crests look oh so ornamental – but their primary function seems not to be showing off, but butting aside. Supposedly, when running through underbrush, cassowaries lower their heads and the crest parts vegetation. This may or may not be true , I can’t say. What was easy to see, however: on a wild specimen’s crest I saw in a museum were lots of dents and striations that perfectly fit the kind of erosion and damage one would expect such behavior to create.

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About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy working at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
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