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Analysis of Cassowary Casques for Shock Absorption

[+] Author Affiliations
Scott Widholm

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, La Crescenta, CA

Mariappan Jawaharlal

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA

Paper No. IMECE2016-65120, pp. V011T15A001; 5 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 11: Systems, Design, and Complexity
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5065-7
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


The cassowary, a large flightless bird native to Australia, is best known for the helmet-like casque on its head. This casque looks like a large bony fin, but actually is a hollow structure made of keratin. Because the cassowary uses this casque to ram trees to knock down fruit, it is thought that the structure might provide much of the shock-absorbing qualities needed to keep the head safe. This analysis is a first look into this possibility.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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