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Cassowary

Cassowaries, genus Casuarius, are ratites that are native to the tropical forests of New Guinea, East Nusa Tenggara, the Maluku Islands, northeastern Australia. There are three extant species; the most common of these, the southern cassowary, is the third-tallest and second-heaviest living bird, smaller only than the ostrich and emu. Cassowaries feed on fruit, although all species are omnivorous and will take a range of other plant food, including shoots and grass seeds, in addition to fungi and small vertebrates. Cassowaries are wary of humans, but if provoked they are capable of inflicting serious injuries, including fatal, to both dogs and people, it has been labeled "the world's most dangerous bird". The genus Casuarius was erected by the French scientist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in his Ornithologie published in 1760; the type species is the southern cassowary. The Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus had introduced the genus Casuarius in the sixth edition of his Systema Naturae published in 1748, but Linnaeus dropped the genus in the important tenth edition of 1758 and put the southern cassowary together with the common ostrich and the greater rhea in the genus Struthio.

As the publication date of Linnaeus's sixth edition was before the 1758 starting point of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature and not Linnaeus, is considered as the authority for the genus. Cassowaries are part of the ratite group, which includes the emu, rheas and kiwi, as well as the extinct moas and elephant birds. Three extant species are recognised, one extinct: Most authorities consider the taxonomic classification above to be monotypic, several subspecies of each have been described, some of them have been suggested as separate species, e.g. C. papuanus. The taxonomic name C. papuanus may be in need of revision to Casuarius westermanni. Validation of these subspecies has proven difficult due to individual variations, age-related variations, the scarcity of specimens, the stability of specimens, the practice of trading live cassowaries for thousands of years, some of which are to have escaped or deliberately introduced to regions away from their origin; the evolutionary history of cassowaries, as of all ratites, is not well known.

A fossil species was reported from Australia, but for reasons of biogeography this assignment is not certain and it might belong to the prehistoric Emuarius, which were cassowary-like primitive emus. All ratites are believed to have come from the super-continent Gondwana, which separated around 180 million years ago. Studies show. All cassowaries are shy birds that are found in the deep forest, they are adept at disappearing. The southern cassowary of the far north Queensland rain forests is not well studied, the northern and dwarf cassowaries less so. Females are more brightly coloured than the males. Adult southern cassowaries are 1.5 to 1.8 m tall, although some females may reach 2 m, weigh 58.5 kg. All cassowaries have feathers that consist of loose barbules, they do not have a preen gland. Cassowaries have small wings with 5–6 large remiges; these are reduced to keratinous quills, resembling porcupine quills, with no barbs. A claw exists on each second digit of the feet; the furcula and coracoid are degenerate, their palatal bones and sphenoid bones touch each other.

These, along with their wedge-shaped body, are thought to be adaptations to ward off vines and saw-edged leaves, allowing them to run through the rainforest. Cassowaries have three-toed feet with sharp claws; the second toe, the inner one in the medial position, sports a dagger-like claw that may be 125 mm long. This claw is fearsome since cassowaries sometimes kick humans and other animals with their powerful legs. Cassowaries can jump up to 1.5 m. They are good swimmers, swimming in the sea. All three species have a keratinous skin-covered casque on their heads; the casque's shape and size, up to 18 cm, is species-dependent. Casuarius casuarius has the largest and Casuarius bennetti the smallest, with Casuarius unappendiculatus having variations in between. Contrary to earlier findings, the hollow inside of the casque is spanned with fine fibres that are believed to have an acoustic function. Several functions for the casque have been proposed. One is. Other suggested functions include being used to batter through underbrush, as a weapon in dominance disputes, or for pushing aside leaf litter during foraging.

The latter three are disputed by biologist Andrew Mack, whose personal observation suggests that the casque amplifies deep sounds. Earlier research indicates the birds lower their heads when running "full tilt through the vegetation, brushing saplings aside and careening into small trees; the casque would help protect the skull from such collisions". Cassowaries eat fallen fruit and spend much time under trees where seeds the size of golfballs or larger fall from heights of up to 30 m, it has been speculated that the casques play a role in either sound reception

New Zealand State Highway 80

State Highway 80 is a South Island state highway in New Zealand. Known as Mount Cook Road, it is a tourist road between the settlements of Twizel and Mount Cook Village. About 55 kilometres in length, it is two lane, with a few single-lane bridges. Tourists travelling between Christchurch and Queenstown deviate here and travel to New Zealand's highest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook. Since designation, this is the route. For the first 31 km of the road, SH 80 runs in a northerly direction parallel with the banks of Lake Pukaki to the right and the Mackenzie Basin to the left. About 10 kilometres along the road, the basin is superseded by the Ben Ohau Range. After a further 20 kilometres, the road passes the head of Lake Pukaki where it changes name to the Tasman River; the highway terminates just east of Mount Cook Village after a further 24 kilometres. List of New Zealand state highways New Zealand Transport Agency

Iain Macwhirter

Iain Macwhirter is the political commentator of The Herald, an author and documentary film and radio presenter and a former Rector of Edinburgh University. He has worked at both the UK Parliament and Scottish Parliament, presenting the BBC2 programmes Westminster Live, Scrutiny and, from 1999, the BBC TV Holyrood Live programme from the Scottish Parliament. In 2013, he published Road to Referendum which accompanied a major new three-part television series of the same name on STV and ITV. Following the Scottish independence referendum, he published Disunited Kingdom: How Westminster Won A Referendum But Lost Scotland, a retrospective on his experiences as a journalist documenting the campaign. In 2015, his book Tsunami, about the SNP's victory in the 2015 general election, was published by Freight Books. Macwhirter was educated at George Heriot's School, an independent school in Edinburgh, followed by the University of Edinburgh. Macwhirter worked for the BBC for 20 years, becoming Scottish political correspondent in 1987 from 1989 as a member of the Westminster press contingent, as part of Westminster Live.

In 1999, he presented Politics Scotland and Holyrood Live until both were axed in 2007 and 2009. Macwhirter writes weekly columns for The Herald, The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, all morning papers, he returned to Scotland to help launch the Sunday Herald in 1999, has presented the Scottish Parliament magazine programme Holyrood Live. He writes for Public Finance and other publications. Macwhirter announced that he was running for Rector of the University of Edinburgh on 12 January 2009, he was backed by George Galloway following the latter's withdrawal as a candidate for the post. He was elected Rector on 13 February 2009, winning by 4,822 votes to 2,182. Succeeding the former Green MSP Mark Ballard. Media of Scotland "Iain Macwhirter | writer and broadcaster". Iainmacwhirter.wordpress.com. 13 March 1999. Retrieved 14 March 2017. Iain Macwhirter. "Full profile | Global". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 March 2017. "Writers". Newstatesman.com. 9 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017