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RE: What would Hitchcock have thought...?

For a terrific survey of the extensive literature describing the (many!)
species that sometimes prey on hom sap, see MAN THE HUNTED by Donna Hart and
Robert W. Sussman. 

i thought this was the best non-fiction book I read in 2005, because it goes
straight to the heart of how we think about ourselves.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
Adrienne Mayor
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:18 PM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: What would Hitchcock have thought...?

This might help explain the traditional Native American stories of giant
raptors that carried off folks to their nests, until now thought to be
fanciful tales.

Many stories tell of giant predatory birds that were feared in the distant
past before present-day humans. I found such tales among the Crow, Navajo,
Hopi, Apache, Yakima, and Yaqui of Sonora, Mexico, and an ancient petroglyph
in Arizona appears to depict a giant bird carrying a struggling human in its
beak. (For details and illustrations by paleo-artist Rick Spears and others,
plus the rock art, see my "Fossil Legends of the First Americans.")

This new discovery in South Africa proves that the idea of giant birds
preying on early humans is not mere myth (birds were bigger then, and humans
smaller). And it supports the controversial notion that some giant
raptor-bird traditions represent ancestral memories of teratorns and other
giant raptors that overlapped with early humans. The tales could also have
been based on discoveries of the fossil or mummified remains of huge

The Yaqui story can be traced back to pre-Columbian times, and appears to
conflate ancestral memory supported by more recent fossil finds. The Yaqui
story of "The Monter Bird of Skeleton Mountain"  
describes the discovery of the remains of a giant bird that used to prey on
people in very primitive times, when they still lived in shelters made of
sticks. The Yaqui found the giant bird skeleton by digging a pit on a
hillside with rich Pleistocene deposits.
Adrienne Mayor

On Jan 13, 2006, at 8:49 AM, Tim Williams wrote:

Dinosaur-related, insofar as one lineage of theropods hunted our primate
ancestors long after the K/T extinction...

(This report has been doing the rounds on the Internet, and this is just one


"Stone Age whodunit is solved

A TWO-million-year-old murder mystery has been solved - and it reveals that
our ancestors were hunted by huge birds of prey.

New research shows that one such bird killed the so-called Taung Child,
whose ape-like skull, unearthed in South Africa in 1924, is famed as one of
the most important human evolutionary finds."


The article will apparently feature in an upcoming issue of American Journal
of Physical Anthropology, but it's not yet mentioned at the journal site.



pology, but it's not yet mentioned at the  
journal site.