Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Cassowary "Domestication" occurred almost 20,000 years ago.

This article uses data from New Guinea to propose that Cassowaries, the killer birds of Australasia, were domesticated 18,000 years ago. For comparison, chickens were domesticated 9,000 years ago.

Now "domesticated' may or may not be the right word. But since Cassowary chicks (cassolettes?) imprint on the first thing they see. And from ancient settlement sites, they found a ton of late stage Cassowary eggs. Researchers believe that New Guineans waited until the chick were almost ready to hatch, then they killed the male Cassowary (who incubates the eggs and doesn't eat for months) - who gets quite weak. They presumably ate the full grown male, then took the eggs.

Cassowary chicks imprint on the first thing they see. So they would imprint on the people, who raised them for meat, feathers, bones and more chicks. It is impressive since these are killer birds with their feet . claws. One killed a man in Florida (!) in 2019.

The killer Cassowary foot (a little dinosaur-ish right?)

Interesting.

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