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

Explore further: Ancient Raptors Likely Feasted on Early Man

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Hubble catches a transformation in the Virgo constellation

December 9, 2016

The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is especially rich in galaxies, due in part to the presence of a massive and gravitationally-bound collection of over 1300 galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. One particular member of ...

Hydrogen from sunlight—but as a dark reaction

December 9, 2016

The storage of photogenerated electric energy and its release on demand are still among the main obstacles in artificial photosynthesis. One of the most promising, recently identified photocatalytic new materials is inexpensive ...

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.