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Cassowary (n.) A large bird, of the genus Casuarius, found in the east Indies. It is smaller and stouter than the ostrich. Its head is armed with a kind of helmet of horny substance, consisting of plates overlapping each other, and it has a group of long sharp spines on each wing which are used as defensive organs. It is a shy bird, and runs with great rapidity. Other species inhabit New Guinea, Australia, etc.