Southern cassowaries are known for their distinctive casque – the hard bump that protrudes from the top of their head. The casque is one of the trademark features of the southern cassowary, yet for decades researchers have struggled to figure out the purpose of the large growth – until now.
Ground-breaking research conducting at La Trobe University in Victoria suggests that the casque is used to regulate heat and keep the beautiful birds cool during Australia’s sweltering summers. Danielle Eastick, from the university’s Department of Ecology, Environment, and Evolution, conducted a study with 20 cassowaries across Australia and discovered that the amount of heat released from the casque increases when the temperature rises. Previous research had suggested that the casque might be used as protection from dense vegetation, as a weapon to ward off other animals, or as a means of finding a mating partner, so this certainly is a ground-breaking finding!
Cassowaries need large areas of rainforest to survive and thrive. At Rainforest Rescue, we work to rescue, restore, and conserve critical cassowary habitat to ensure that these incredible creatures can continue to live in the Daintree. We've recently spotted a cassowary on the Nightwings property, which we have been working to restore! Learn more by reading our previous report.
Thank you to all of YOU who have supported our mission to Protect Rainforests Forever and to extend the safe habitat of these critically important animals.