Cassowaries are, in a few words, extremely fucked up. They are creatures that, like a great many that live either naturally or unnaturally in Florida, are categorically disinclined to coexist alongside both the past and current iterations of the human species, or any other species for that matter. They are a mix between emus, the cool-but-inaccurate velociraptors of Jurassic Park, and an extremely ornery Florida parent. They are also kings and queens that should be worshipped as the Cretaceous Period royal descendants they are.
A cassowary (it’s unclear what this particular one’s given name is) killed Marvin Hajos, a 75 year old Florida man who kept the enigmatic beast in a cage with another of the species, for “agricultural use.” The reported act of provocation and the violence that followed leading to an auction of the Murder Bird spurred a write-up in the New York Times on Wednesday. The Times did not provide the gory details of how, exactly, Murder Bird did the murder, save for the guilty party’s weapon of choice—a gotdang foot.
To be more specific, a foot like this:
You know what, I’m sorry. These feet are good and scary, yes. They are dinosaur-esque and unnerving and probably should not exist on the same space-time continuum as our big doughy, defenseless meat sacks of bodies haplessly waddling around the planet. Without context, these talons don’t seem much scarier than, say, an eagle’s, which are no doubt terrifying. But Murder Bird’s feet go far beyond anything the human mind can be prepared to comprehend.
Try this one on for scale, from a paleontologist, no less:
No, you are not looking at the foot of a velociraptor perfectly preserved in ice; this is the foot of a creature that is alive and breathing and thirsting for blood right now, at this very minute, somewhere in the world. It’s waiting, not-so-patiently, for an opportune moment to remind you, or whoever dares enters its consciousness, of the mistakes—and, more importantly, the lasting effects—of evolution. Marvin Hajos, god bless him, figuratively flew too close to this flightless beast on April 12 when he went into its cage to collect the dino eggs that this “bird” plops out. Murder Bird saw what Murder Bird sees. It saw a man. It saw its babies. It saw its claw. It saw 65 million years of instinct and training. In one fell swoop, the cassowary made a choice that had been made for it by Mother Nature eons earlier. On that day, a cassowary became Murder Bird, the protector of the realm, destroyer of men, heir to the earthly crown.
Murder Bird is our ruler now. Long live Murder Bird.