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Prehistoric birds made meals of human ancestors!

india Updated: Aug 30, 2006 20:54 IST

A US study suggests that prehistoric birds of prey made meals of some of our earliest human ancestors.

Ohio State University researchers came to the conclusion after studying 699 bones collected from beneath the nests of African crowned eagles in the Ivory Coast`s Tai rainforest.

A full-grown African crowned eagle is roughly the size of an American bald eagle, which typically weighs about 10 to 12 pounds.

Punctures and scratches on many of the monkey skulls have led some researchers to reconsider which animals may have preyed on early humans, said W. Scott McGraw, the study’s lead author and an OSU associate professor of anthropology.

'It seems that raptors have been a selective force in primate evolution for a long time. Before this study I thought that eagles wouldn’t contribute that much to the mortality rate of primates in the forest. I couldn’t have been more wrong,' he said.

The research appears online at the Web site of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, and is scheduled for publication in the journal’s October issue.