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Re: What would Hitchcock have thought...?

Ok, good point. But if not teratorns, which other Ice Age birds of prey would be capable of picking up a small child (either in talons or beak)? Or should we reject the new interpretation of the evidence in South Africa, reported in Am J of Phys Anthropology, that large birds apparentlypreyed on human ancestors?>

I accept the recent evidence from South America. I just don't think it's very surprising, or that it confirms the historical truth of the myths you mention. There is all kinds of evidence of large raptors preying on primates, including video of a Harpy Eagles (with a modest 7 foot wingspan) snatching an adult three-toed sloth out of tree and flying away with it. It's not surprising to see evidence that this also happened in the distant past to juvenile hominids. In the Pleistocene, the New Zealand eagle, Harpogornis, would likely have been able to snatch a snatch up a human toddler with little problem. I'm skeptical about the North America origins of these myths, however, because nothing analogous to Harpagornis (that I'm aware of anyway) is known from the late Pleistocene of North America.

Perhaps there was such a North American bird that just hasn't been found. Perhaps the myth goes further back in human history than the Pleistocene of North America. Perhaps the myth is born of a fear in which the observed prey capture techniques of eagles was conflated with a parental concern for the safety of children who did live in the shadow of the huge teratorns.