Scientist says Taung Child killed by bird

January 13, 2006

A U.S. paleontologist working in South Africa says he has unraveled what the cause of death was for the first ape-man fossil discovered in Africa.

Scientists have argued for decades about what killed the Taung Child found in 1924 -- some had believed the child was killed by leopards.

However, Lee Berger working at South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand suggests that the Taung child had been attacked from above by a bird of prey, the BBC reported Friday.

The Taung child, believed to belong to the humanlike species Australopithecus africanus, is considered to be the most photographed and observed fossil in history.

Berger told the BBC the injuries on the Taung Child's skull mimic those of on the skull of a baboon killed by an eagle.

"Can you imagine what it must have been like back then?" Berger asked. "Not only were we afraid of cats, and leopards -- you had to watch for aerial attacks from these ferocious predators preying on your young."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Researchers build bacteria's photosynthetic engine

July 29, 2015

Nearly all life on Earth depends on photosynthesis, the conversion of light energy into chemical energy. Oxygen-producing plants and cyanobacteria perfected this process 2.7 billion years ago. But the first photosynthetic ...

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

July 29, 2015

The coalescence of two black holes—a very violent and exotic event—is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been ...

Scientists unlock secrets of stars through aluminium

July 29, 2015

Physicists at the University of York have revealed a new understanding of nucleosynthesis in stars, providing insight into the role massive stars play in the evolution of the Milky Way and the origins of the Solar System.

Yarn from slaughterhouse waste

July 29, 2015

ETH researchers have developed a yarn from ordinary gelatine that has good qualities similar to those of merino wool fibers. Now they are working on making the yarn even more water resistant.

Studies reveal details of error correction in cell division

July 29, 2015

Cell biologists led by Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with collaborators elsewhere, report an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.