Casuarius lydekkeri Rothschild, 1911

Pygmy cassowary



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Casuarius lydekki Rothschild, 1911 (orthographic error); Casuarius lydekkeri Rich et al., 1988 (incorrect author)


Rothschild (1911) described Casuarius lydekkeri based upon information provided in (Lydekker, 1891), who based his brief mention of the species on a specimen sent to the British Museum by the Trustees of the Australian Museum, Sydney (Miller, 1962:235).


Conservation Status

Last record: Late Pleistocene



Australia & New Guinea


Material has been unearthed from Pureni, in the highlands of Papua New Guinea (Rich et al. 1988), extending it's range enormously, and predicting the finding of the species from deposits on Queensland's Cape York Peninsula in the future.


Biology & Ecology




Holotype: AM MF 1268 (distal end of right tibiotarsus)

Type locality: Wellington Valley, New South Wales. (has been disputed by Rich et al., 1988).


Other material:

CPC F23025






Original scientific description:

Rothschild,  Walter. (1911). On the former and present distribution of the so-called Ratitae or ostrich-like birds. In: Verhandlungen  des V. lnternationalen Ornithologen-Kongresses in Berlin, ed. H. Schalow, 144-69. Berlin: Deutsche  Ornithologische Gesellschaft.


Other references:

Boles, Walter E. (1992). Revision of Dromaius gidju Patterson and Rich 1987 from Riversleigh, northwestern Queensland, Australia, with a reassessment of its generic position. Los Angeles County Museum, Science Series 36: 195-208.

Hardy, John William (ed.). "Recent Literature". Auk 80(4): 584.

Lydekker, R. (1891). Catalogue of the fossil birds in the British Museum (Natural History) London. 386 pp.

Miller, Alden H. (1962). The history and significance of the fossil Casuarius lydekkeri. Records of the Australian Museum 25(10): 235-238.

Naish, Darren and Perron, Richard. (2014). Structure and function of the cassowary’s casque and its implications for cassowary history, biology and evolution. Historical Biology DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2014.985669.

Plane, M. D. (1967). Stratigraphy and vertebrate fauna of the Otibanda Formation, New Guinea.  Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics (Australia) Bulletin 86: 1-64. [possible additional material of this species]

Rich, P. V., Plane, M., and Schroeder, N. (1988). A pygmy cassowary (Casuarius lydekkeri) from late Pleistocene bog deposits at Pureni, Papua New Guinea. Bur. Min. Res. Aust. Geol. Geophys. 10(4): 377-389.

Rothschild, L. W. R. (1907). Extinct birds, an attempt to write in one volume a short account of those birds which have become extinct in historical times, that is within the last six or seven hundred years: to which are added a few which still exist, but are on the verge of extinction / by the Hon. Walter Rothschild. London: Hutchinson & Co. XXIX + 243 pp.

Worthy, Trevor H. and Nguyen, Jacqueline M. T. (2020). An annotated checklist of the fossil birds of Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 144(1): 66-108.


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