Ancient people may have raised flightless birds that can ‘slice open any predator’

A contemporary-day cassowary friends out of a field.

Andy Mack

Ostriches and emus are famously giant flightless birds, however not everyone seems to be accustomed to the cassowary, a chook native to New Guinea and elements of Australia. Cassowaries could be aggressive and so they a have a brutally sharp claw on every foot. However these downsides could not’ve stopped folks from hatching and elevating them 18,000 years in the past.

Cassowary chicks are traded in fashionable instances in some areas of New Guinea, a observe which will have some surprisingly early historic roots.  

“This conduct that we’re seeing is coming hundreds of years earlier than domestication of the rooster,” said archaeologist Kristina Douglass in a Penn State statement on Monday. “And this isn’t some small fowl, it’s a big, ornery, flightless chook that may eviscerate you.”  

A group of researchers investigated eggshell fragments discovered at archeological websites in New Guinea that dated to between 6,000 and 18,000 years in the past, again into the late Pleistocene period. The findings counsel the eggs that have been near hatching have been gathered by human foragers.     

Douglass is the lead writer of a study of the eggshells published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“What we discovered was that a big majority of the eggshells have been harvested throughout late phases,” mentioned Douglass. “The eggshells look very late; the sample is just not random. They have been both into consuming baluts or they’re hatching chicks.” 

Admittedly, cassowary chicks are fairly cute.

Andy Mack

Baluts are fertilized eggs which might be cooked and eaten when the embryo is creating. The researchers discovered sufficient samples of unburned eggshells to counsel the eggs have been collected for hatching. The cassowary chicks would have printed on the people. 

The precise nature of the potential human-cassowary relationship is unknown. The birds might’ve been raised to maturity or been used for buying and selling. It would’ve been the Pleistocene model of elevating chickens. 

In case you are eager about getting a cassowary for a pet, it is not a good suggestion. As the San Diego Zoo notes, “The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential menace with a single swift kick.” | Historic folks could have raised flightless birds that may ‘slice open any predator’


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