I visited Australia in January 2005, it was an organized road tour with a bunch of mainly young French people and a French guide. On the way to the outback near Cairns, we stopped and did a short hike in the forest to see a point of interest (I don't remember what). There was a warning sign in the parking lot about cassowaries. I had never seen a cassowary, even heard the name and didn't know what it was, like many of the people in the group. On the way back, we spotted a cassowary, it was static just a few meters from the track. We all took pictures but stayed on the track, at some point the cassowary probably felt threatened and started chasing us. We all ran, I remember looking back at it while being chased and it ran like a Jurassic park dinosaur. It was moving really fast, at an intersection, we all turned left downhill going away from the parking lot and it stopped chasing us. It never went on the track and it always staid in the forest, it could have easily outrun us.
After I learnt the kind of injuries it could inflict to humans. The guide should have been more careful. Anyway it was a fun story to tell when I got home.
Generally speaking, when we put a warning sign up about an animal it's worth assuming the worst.
Box jellyfish (Irukandji) are a different story. These days there's a good chance you'll live (if you get to hospital), but you'll be in extreme pain for days or even weeks.
I don't think so. Spielberg and colleagues clearly didn't know it, or didn't realize the depth of the connection, and they influenced the public's perception of dinosaurs to a large degree.
I don't think this is true at all. Micheal Creighton's book on which the movie was based made it really clear how birds and dinosaurs are connected. I am positive that Speilberg read it.
The movie makes a lot of references to the connection:
Dr. Alan Grant : A turkey, huh? OK, try to imagine yourself in the Cretaceous Period. You get your first look at this "six foot turkey" as you enter a clearing. He moves like a bird, lightly, bobbing his head. And you keep still because you think that maybe his visual acuity is based on movement like T-Rex - he'll lose you if you don't move. But no, not Velociraptor. You stare at him, and he just stares right back. And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side.
Dr. Alan Grant : [the dinosaurs change direction] The wheel uniform changes just like a flock of birds evading a predator.
In another scene:
Lex : [the T-Rex has just killed a Gallimimus] I want to go now.
Dr. Alan Grant : Look how it eats.
Lex : Please!
Dr. Alan Grant : [to Tim] I bet you'll never look at birds the same way again.
This article from 2008 is also interesting:
"In 2012, an Australian tourist named Dennis Ward was kicked off a cliff into a body of water by a cassowary when he and his family were visiting Babinda Boulders in Queensland. 'It just came straight up to me, decided to pick on me for some reason, I don’t know what for,' Ward told the Cairns Post."
I shouldn't be laughing but that is an outrageous story.
When it comes to accidents, never heard about anything whereas the same can't be say about the salt water crocodile that live in the very same region
Fun fact, the female casswory is much bigger than the male and it's considered down there as the gardener of the forest because it eats all sort seeds that when poo get all the nutriment it needs to grow, pretty amazing bird.
(It's a shame that Australia is known for its wildlife being dangerous to humans, whereas the reality -- that our humans are extremely dangerous to wildlife, often choosing to drive whole species to extinction -- is less well advertised)
If you mean 'potentially dangerous if encountered', then I guess it would be. When it comes to birds that might slice your abdomen open, it's in a class of its own.
If you mean 'actually dangerous in terms of causing injuries or deaths', you could say most. But the baseline for death-by-bird is so low that the word 'dangerous' seems a bit daft (Cassowaries exist in decreasing numbers in areas of relatively low human populations, are infrequently encountered and not usually aggressive). On the numbers, if Cassowaries are 'dangerous', then dogs, horses and cattle are all catastrophically homicidal.
Right. I don't think the intent here is "look how deadly Australia is!" as much as "here's a crazy animal rarely talked about that recently was in the news."
As an American, I think the assumption is that, say, the outback is a sparsely populated area with some dangerous wildlife like swaths of Africa and South America.
When I think of Australia my head goes to the coasts.
Right. That's where we (nearly) all live. As it happens, cassowaries are also coastal creatures, but exclusively tropical. The tropics have been sparsely populated, though North Queensland has been 'growing' fast, so unfortunately the cassowary's days are numbered.
But of course we all know that Australian fauna in just about any shape means business the hard way.
E: Appearently not that unlikely https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur
OT: What does that star(*) denote? I'm always irritated if i can't find the corresponding footnote.
"Editor's note October 7, 2016: An earlier version of this article stated that Sara Hallager was the Zoo's keeper of birds; she is the curator."
Which still keeps me wondering why the flamingos?