We all know the ostrich is the giant bird in the world, followed by the emu, but many people are unaware of the existence of the third largest bird in the world, the Cassowary. The Cassowary is one of the endemic animals of West Papuan.
The name of this endangered animal comes from two Papuan words: kasu, which means horns, and weri, which means head (referring to their crest). This bird has been named the most dangerous bird in the world. They were reporting from various sources. Here are 8 facts about cassowaries.
8 Facts About Endemic Animals of West Papuan, Cassowary
1. Closest to a Common Ancestor
Although almost all birds are descended from dinosaurs, this hard-crested bird is the bird that most closely resembles the ancient relics.
Reporting from nature.com, recently, a new dinosaur species with a shape similar to the modern Cassowary has just been discovered. It then further strengthens the opinion of other scientists that the Cassowary is the closest bird to the dinosaurs.
2. Three Species of Cassowary, Endemic Animals of West Papuan that are Still Alive
The Cassowary has three species: the Double-Gelambir Cassowary or Southern Cassowary, the Single-Gelambir Cassowary or Northern Cassowary, and the Dwarf Cassowary. The Dwarf Cassowary is one of the endemic animals of West Papuan.
Another species, Pygmy Cassowary, is long extinct and is thought to have lived in an ice age. Its fossils were found in mainland Australia.
3. They are Among the Largest Birds in the World
Southern Cassowaries are the third tallest and second heaviest birds in the world after the ostrich and emu. Southern Cassowary can have a height between 150-180 cm. The average weight of the female Southern Cassowary is 58.5 kg, while the male is around 29-34 kg. Some female Southern Cassowaries can even reach two meters in height.
Meanwhile, the Dwarf Cassowary is the smallest cassowary species, with a height between 90-150 cm and a weight between 17.6-26 kg.
4. The Crest is Not Just a Crest
From nature.com, there are many opinions about the function of the cassowary crest, but they are only theoretical. Homeothermic animals can regulate their body temperature. Loss of body temperature must be balanced by increasing body temperature.
Homeothermic animals do this to keep body temperature levels stable. Nature.com tests the theory that the Cassowary’s crest is a thermal window regulating the Cassowary’s body temperature.
Nature.com found evidence that the Cassowary crest acts as a thermal radiator that regulates the release of body heat in areas with high temperatures and limits the loss of body heat in places with low temperatures.
5. Better to Stay Away from these Endemic Animals of West Papuan
According to britannica.com and az-animals.com, cassowaries are curious animals and often attack humans who approach them. Most attacks occur because these people are trying to feed the Cassowary.
75% of cassowary attacks are caused by humans trying to feed cassowaries. 22% because cassowaries feel their eggs are threatened and must be protected. Another 3% of attacks occur because cassowaries need to defend themselves from humans, wherein the humans end up seriously injured. Two of them ended in death.
6. Natural Forest Rangers
Cassowaries are fruit-eating, frugivorous creatures that play a crucial role in preserving the rainforests. It is because the fruit that the Cassowary eats will leave undigested seeds, and the roots will later implant themselves and become new trees.
7. Incubating and Raising Young is the Job of the Males
Incubate eggs, raise and protect the young from harm. During the breeding, females mate with several males and lay eggs in their nests. After that, the male will incubate the eggs for 50-52 days and remain in the nest for nine months to raise the young.
8. This Endemic Animals of West Papuan is in Danger
Dwarf cassowaries are almost extinct, whereas Southern and Northern cassowaries are classified as vulnerable in terms of conservation. The decline in their population is primarily due to the loss of their natural habitat. Now their habitat is only 20-25% of the original habitat.
Those were the facts about Cassowary. Their sustainability status is under threat, and we must raise awareness to protect endemic animals of West Papuan.