Be casso-wary of the Corythoraptor

New discovery looks like modern cassowaries, helping to prove the evolutionary links between dinosaurs and birds
corythoraptor An artistic representation of Corythoraptor jacobsi, a very bird-like dinosaur that lived 66 to 100 million years ago. (Zhao Chuang)

The cassowary is one of the world's largest birds. This is it right here.

"Hey, there! I'm a cassowary! (Don't get too close...)" (Getty Embed)

Like its fellow feathered giants, the ostrich and the emu, it is flightless and gets around by walking on its large legs. In particular, the cassowary is known for its hard head crest and deadly ability to kick as a counterattack if it feels threatened.

Put all of these features together and what do you get? How about a creature that looks a lot like a dinosaur?

Ancient cousin

Of course we understand that no one is confusing a cassowary with a T. rex. But as scientists discover more and more dino species (including some tyrannosaurs and raptors) had feathers, it's getting easier to see that dinosaurs didn't really go completely extinct... they just evolved into modern birds.

Meet Corythoraptor jacobsi. This recently unearthed fossil from Jiangxi Province, China shows a Cretaceous Period-living dinosaur that looked a lot like a cassowary. Just how much?

Let's have another look at this pair...

Cassowary... (Getty Embed)

corythoraptor jacobsi

... or Corythoraptor jacobsi? (Zhao Chuang)

Even when you consider that the image of the Corythoraptor is just an artist's idea of what they looked like, those are some awfully similar creatures. From the bony crest and long neck, to the powerful three-toed legs and thicker, feathered body... they are even about the same height, with both creatures standing around 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall. Almost like looking into a mirror, right Mr. Cassowary?

Speaking of which, if you see either of these creatures in your own mirror, run!


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