What’s More Terrifying than a Giant Lizard? An Apex Predator with Feathers

Last month a Florida man was killed by his pet Cassowary.

Cassowaries, I learned, are native to Australia and New Guinea, are similar to emus and stand up to 6 feet tall and weigh up to 130 pounds, with black body feathers and distinctive, bright blue heads and necks.

The San Diego Zoo’s website calls the cassowary the “world’s most dangerous bird” with a 4-inch, “dagger-like” claw on each foot. The zoo says it is the second-heaviest bird in the world, after its cousin the ostrich. The bird can also jump nearly 7 feet up into the air, the zoo said.

“The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick. Powerful legs help the cassowary run up to 31 miles per hour through the dense forest underbrush,” the website says.

What colors were the dinosaurs? Did they have feathers? Advances in imaging technology are bringing us closer to real answers. 

But personally I find a feathered Rex way more terrifying.

ALMOST ALL DINOSAURS were probably covered in feathers, Siberian fossils of a tufted, two-legged running dinosaur dating from roughly 160 million years ago suggest.

Back in 2014, National Geographic suggested that all Dinos did have feathers based on new fossil findings in Siberia.

Over the past two decades, discoveries in China have produced at least five species of feathered dinosaurs. But they all belonged to the theropod group of “raptor” dinosaurs, ancestors of modern birds. (Related: “Dinosaur-Era Fossil Shows Birds’ Feathers Evolved Before Flight.”)

Now in a discovery reported by an international team in the journal Science, the new dinosaur species, Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus (KOO-lin-dah-DRO-mee-us ZAH-bike-kal-ik-kuss), suggests that feathers were all in the family. That’s because the newly unearthed 4.5-foot-long (1.5 meter) two-legged runner was an “ornithischian” beaked dinosaur, belonging to a group ancestrally distinct from past theropod discoveries.

“Probably that means the common ancestor of all dinosaurs had feathers,” says study lead author Pascal Godefroit of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science in Brussels. “Feathers are not a characteristic [just] of birds but of all dinosaurs.”

Cassowary’s are proof that dinosaurs still exist, and if I had to bet, I’d say they had feathers.

And that’s some scary isht.

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