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A few fun facts about the cassowary, from the San Diego Zoo:
- The large, flightless bird, found in New Guinea and Australia, is most closely related to the emu.
- It's covered in fluffy, two-quilled black feathers that, protect the bird in its rain forest habitat, keeping it dry and safe from the sharp-thorned plants.
- All three cassowary species have casques on top of their heads that might be used as a sort of helmet or shock absorber while navigating the rain forest underbrush. It could also work like a hornbill's casque, helping the bird make sounds and communicate through the dense forest.
- Don't mess with this bird: it's three-toed feet have four-inch daggerlike claws from the inner toe, it can run run 31 miles per hour, jump nearly seven feet straight into the air, and swim with ease.
- The cassowary eats fruit, and many plant species require passage through its digestive system to sprout.