|Population||630,000-725,000 (2018 est.)|
|Conservation status||Least concern|
The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is a large, flightless bird of the family Casuariidae, and found over much of Australia. The emu, along with another familiar Australian animal, the kangaroo, is featured on that country's coat of arms.
Emus are large, with a standing height of 59 to 75 inches, a length of 55 to 65 inches, and weigh 40 to 132 pounds. Males and females look very similar, with females on average, being slightly larger, heavier, and darker than males. The plumage is dark brown in color, of which it will vary slightly due to the surrounding environment; the lay on the body gives the bird a shaggy appearance, with the overall mass of the plumage meant to be an insulating factor against direct sunlight. The neck is pale blue and covered with smaller feathers ranging in color from brown to taupe. Young birds are broadly striped in tan and brown, front to back.
Their miniature wings are small, no more than eight inches long, and largely hidden by the body plumage. The wings act as stabilizers when the bird is running; a swift runner, the emu can sprint in speeds of 30 mph or more.
There are four subspecies of emu; the nominate on the mainland, and three island subspecies which were hunted to extinction in the 19th century. In addition, a proposal has been made for two additional mainland subspecies (D. n. rothschildi and D. n. woodwardi) based on minor differences in coloration, a claim not fully accepted by all authorities.
- Dromaius novaehollandiae baudinianus; Kangaroo Island (extinct, 1827)
- Dromaius novaehollandiae diemenensis; Tasmania (extinct, 1850)
- Dromaius novaehollandiae minor; King Island (extinct, 1805)
- Dromaius novaehollandiae novaehollandiae; Australian mainland
According to the origins theory model used by creation scientists, emus, like all flightless, non-aquatic birds, originated in the Middle East and are the descendants of the two emus that were taken aboard Noah's Ark prior to the Great Flood. Also according to creation science theories, after the Flood, emus bred from the Ark passengers then migrated to Australia. There is debate whether this migration happened over land as it is thought that Australia was still for a time after the Flood connected to the Middle East before the supercontinent of Pangea broke apart or if they rafted on mats of vegetation torn up by the receding flood waters. The theory that God simply generated emus into existence is considered by most creation researchers to be contra-Biblical.
- "How did animals get from the Ark to places such as Australia", Answers In Genesis
- "Pangea and the Flood", Apologetics Press