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Humans on the menu (was Theropod "migrations")



Thomas R.Holtz wrote:

>It would be interesting to find out to what extent the idea that "big
>predators don't habitually hunt humans" is/was true in pre-village
>human societies...

Modern Komodo dragons would regularly feed on humans if they were able
to. However, there is an example of a pre- (VERY pre-) village hominid
attack. Australopithecine remains had been found sporadically within
dense pockets of animal bone in several South African sites. At first
they were thought to be artefactual deposits, however during the
1960s/70s there was a surge of studies on formation processes (or
taphonomy as it is more commonly known in palaeontology). It was found
that many of these deposits actually resembled modern carnivore 
accumulations. In one site in particular (Swarkrans) the pattern of
teeth marks on an Australopithecine skull matched exactly that of a
leopard's jaws closing over the face to suffocate its prey. It is 
thought that leopards may have fed in a tree over hanging a
limestone fissure, which gradually accumulated the dropped remains
of their meals. Several such carnivore feeding sites have since been
identified with early hominid material in them.

-- 
____________________________________________________
        Dann Pigdon
        GIS Archaeologist
        Melbourne, Australia

        Australian Dinosaurs:
        http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/4459/
        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
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