For many of contemporary human’s existence, say over the previous 50,000 to 100,000 years, if we noticed one thing fly underneath its personal energy, it was a chicken, a bat or an insect – possibly a ‘flying’ fish or ‘flying’ fox if you wish to stretch issues a bit. Comparatively few of those characteristic prominently in any tradition’s mythology. Bats might need an affiliation with vampires, however your common run-of-the-mill backyard selection chicken is often taken without any consideration – until they’re monstrous in measurement and like people for dinner.
If there’s practically one factor common in Native American mythology it’s large birds, monster birds, even the Thunderbird (which has been adopted as a model title for a lot of merchandise to not point out the title of a TV present with related spin-off movement photos). Now aside from the precise observations of those winged monstrosities, there’s nothing all that uncommon about large flying creatures in mythology. What units these ‘birds’ aside is that they typically prefer to snack on the natives – as takeaways, not dine in. Is there any pure terrestrial clarification for birds carrying away people, like a crow selecting up a kernel of corn? Or, would possibly one need to resort to a different, extra unnatural and maybe extraterrestrial clarification?
Mythological Monster ‘Birds’ of the Americas
Dragons: Whereas primarily linked with the Previous World (Europe, the Far East, and many others.), dragons have some, albeit lesser identified connection within the New World of the Americas, maybe a bit extra within the guise of serpents, that’s taking up a serpentine look. That is most notably so with respect to that well-known feathered serpent (sounds extra like a chicken truly) Quetzalcoatl, a central Aztec deity, however famous as effectively in Mayan tradition and that different, and mysterious preliminary Mesoamerican civilization, the Olmecs.
Nevertheless, we do have the Piasa Chicken which is depicted as a dragon in a Native American Indian mural above the Mississippi River close to trendy Alton, Illinois. It is thought that the originals have been achieved by the Cahokia Indians method earlier than any white settlers arrived of their territory. Their pictographs of animals, birds such because the falcon, bird-men and serpents (monstrous snakes) have been frequent, as was the Thunderbird icon. In accordance with a neighborhood professor residing within the space within the 1830’s, John Russell, the Piasa Chicken depicted within the mural was a monstrous chicken that inhabited the world and attacked and ate the locals that inhabited numerous Indian villages within the space. Apparently it bought a style for human flesh after scavenging human carrion (corpses).
Thunderbirds & Associated: These beasties are practically common in Native American Indian mythology, and what’s extra they carry many related options. They are typically very giant birds which are seen because the personification of thunder (the beating of their wings) and lightning and all issues stormy; a type of Zeus or Thor however with wings, talons, a beak and feathers. The Native People believed that the enormous Thunderbird may shoot lightning from its eyes. Say what? Even odder is that the Thunderbird typically has tooth in its beak. We have all heard the phrase “uncommon as hen’s tooth” – effectively that is as a result of trendy birds are toothless.
Thunderbirds have been additionally related to the Nice Spirits so frequent in Indian lore. They have been servants of those deities and apparently acted as messenger-boys (sorry, messenger-birds) – a type of extra-large service pigeon – carrying communications between these numerous Nice Spirits. Thunderbirds have been related to the climate as we have seen, and in addition with water. Now an fascinating parallel is that dragons within the Previous World are sometimes seen as go-betweens between the gods and humanity (type of once more like service pigeons) and their having some management over the climate and the waters was a typical characteristic as effectively.
So, this mythological monster chicken is frequent all through Indian legends. Truly in a single case there was a Thunderbird that resembled a large eagle that was giant sufficient, and highly effective sufficient to hold a whale in its claws. Say what once more? In accordance with the Makah folks of the Northwest Coast, a Thunderbird saved a village from famine by snatching up a whale from the Pacific Ocean and giving it to the neighborhood to feed off of, giving the village meals lasting for a lot of weeks. Would this be an American instance of a case of manna from Heaven? Now no chicken may truly carry even a small whale in its beak or talons, so there have to be one other clarification.
I’ve beforehand associated how the Navajos have related Ship Rock (or Shiprock) in New Mexico with a legend that claims they have been flown by a ‘flying rock’ (Ship Rock) supplied by their Nice Spirit to flee their enemies from up north. The Navajos, in different legends, have related Ship Rock with the presence of ‘Chicken Monsters’ or cliff monsters that preyed and feed on human Navajo and Zunis flesh. I ponder if that may very well be a garbled story of UFO abduction.
Associated are the tales of the Yaqui from across the Sonora area in NW Mexico. Yaqui legends inform of monumental birds round Skeleton Mountain that carried off males, ladies and youngsters.
There is a petroglyph at Puerco Pueblo (or village) positioned within the Petrified Forest Nationwide Park of an infinite chicken with a human suspended within the air by its beak. If we assume the human is of common top, say 5′ 6″ tall, then the chicken, to scale, is roughly 13′ 9″ tall. That is one very huge chicken! The petroglyph was carved into stone many, many a whole lot upon a whole lot of years in the past by the ancestors of the Hopis, possibly even by the misplaced Anasazis.
On the subject of the Thunderbirds, students of mythology strongly counsel that this creature is simply the embellishment of the California condor, eagles, or the extinct teratorns. Nevertheless, to my mind-set, one would not often affiliate birds with thunder and lightning (i.e. – storms). Now you might even see birds using the thermals which may precede a storm, however you do not are inclined to see birds out and about in stormy climate – they search shelter from the weather too. But many tribes just like the Lakota Sioux or the Ojibwa of the Nice Lakes Area make the connection between these Thunderbirds and lightning particularly. Maybe the affiliation with one thing flying and thunder and lightning suggests one thing a bit extra technological!
I imply one thing that may function a monster service pigeon between the gods, carry enormous weights, abduct people (recorded in lots of Indian legends) and shoot out lightning bolts would not sound like biology to me, quite extra one thing synthetic. Now maybe all these legends of abducting and man-eating large birds are nothing greater than a rogue eagle or condor with an excessive amount of testosterone in its system who, feeling threatened, attacked a lone Indian and just like the fish that bought away, the chicken simply grew and bought embellished, and grew some extra and bought much more embellished till it reached ridiculous proportions and talents. Effectively possibly.
Actual Monster ‘Birds’ of the Americas
Pterosaurs and Pterodactyls: These beasties weren’t actually birds-of-a-feather, quite simply winged and flying (or gliding) reptiles that belonged method again in reality to ‘The Age of Reptiles’ – the Mesozoic Period. The most important of those found (up to now) was Quetzalcoatlus, named clearly after that Mesoamerican feathered serpent deity. Quetza-baby had a 36 to 40 foot wingspan, and simply might need been in a position to snack on a human. Nevertheless, pterosaurs and pterodactyls all went kaput by the top of the Mesozoic – Q-baby made it in reality by way of to the top of the Cretaceous interval, 65 thousands and thousands of years in the past. Alas, that was no less than 64 million years earlier than something resembling people walked the planet as a meals supply. Whereas Native People have been in all probability conscious of the fossils of those flying reptiles, they’d nothing to concern from them when it comes to being snack-food.
Terror Birds: Effectively, these terrors actually existed within the Americas and for some time have been regarded as modern with the earliest people within the Americas. Although they survived and thrived in primarily South America, some made it throughout the Isthmus of Panama land bridge into Central and North America about three million years in the past. The latest of them is now thought to have gone extinct about 1.eight million years in the past, effectively earlier than people arrived on the scene.
However even assuming people and terror birds have been modern, why the phobia? Effectively, these crows-on-steroids have been as much as ten toes tall and will gallop after you at velocities as much as some 37 miles per hour. Relations of those monsters with equally giant beaks and talons have been present in Texas and Florida, and presumable bridged the geographical hole in-between. So, ought to the natives have been afraid; very afraid? Effectively, on this case the highest apex predators in all probability succumbed to being in the end human prey for the reason that terror birds, together with the remainder of the North, Central and South American mega-fauna went extinct in fairly quick-smart style after people appeared on the scene. Now people, if modern, in all probability did not have interaction in hand-to-wing fight with these ungodly raptors, however quite discovered their eggs as a handy-dandy breakfast meals complement to their gatherer nuts-and-berries fare. Alas, no child terror birds hatchlings; in the end no terror birds. In any occasion, terror birds have been flightless, just like the emus, cassowaries, the ostrich and kiwis, to not point out their extinct cousins the moa and dodos. Thus, terror birds do not match our description of birds that fly and pluck people off the bottom and really feel us to their younger.
Large Condors & Associated: The Andean condor at 11 to 15 kg (24 – 33 kilos) is at present the Guinness Guide of Information holder for being the America’s largest flying feathered member of the avian clan, no less than with respect to a roughly 10 to 12 foot wingspan. The California condor at 7 to 14 kg (15 to 31 kilos) comes a really shut second with wingspans round ten toes. Then too there was the Pleistocene [Ice Age] teratorns weighing in at 15 kg to 23 kg (33 to 50 kilos), enormous raptors resembling eagles with wingspans 12 to 17 toes throughout.
General the wandering albatross is on a par with the Andean condor for title of ‘king of the wingspan’ (as much as 11 toes for the good albatrosses), nevertheless it is not a typical sight in North America – then or now. There are a number of North Pacific varieties which attain the western coast of North America, however as a result of these are sea birds, feeding on seafood though scavenging carrion when on land (distant islands) for breeding functions. The chances that Native American Indians would have famous the albatross as a daily a part of their atmosphere would not have been frequent for apart from these residing proper on the Pacific Ocean.
Now the sixty-four cent query is, can any a number of of the above account for eyewitness accounts of monster birds abducting their comrades in arms? Effectively any sane particular person would eradicate dragons and Thunderbirds – they’re mythological and subsequently do not exist. One can not witness non-existence. Pterosaurs and pterodactyls have been extinct lengthy earlier than people have been thought up in anybody’s philosophy. Terror birds could not fly and possibly weren’t truly modern with people in any occasion. Condors, whereas huge, aren’t sufficiently big. I imply a mean human must be giant sufficient to punch a condor’s lights proper out, and positively people are too giant to be carried throughout the condor’s threshold.
Condors (Andean or Californian) are literally vultures and thus scavengers, feeding totally on carrion, regardless that preferring giant carcasses like these of cattle. It has to feed whereas on the bottom, and sometimes stuffs itself foolish when it does come throughout an acceptable meal that it may well’t, for some time, carry itself off the bottom. That is hardly a chicken prone to be the supply of American Indian human-abducting mythology, though the chicken actually options in Native American mythology. Nevertheless, because the condor is an endangered species, the chicken had and has far more cause to concern the natives than the opposite method round.
The extinct teratorns nonetheless have been modern with people (Amerindians), however whereas giant sufficient to trigger greater than adequate hassle for a human toddler, there’s proof to counsel that total, the people have been in all probability extra the hunters than the hunted when crunch got here crunch.
Nevertheless, even at a weight of fifty kilos and a wingspan of 17 toes, may a teratorn have truly picked up and carried away an grownup human, with a weight say no less than twice or thrice that of the raptor? Fossil proof means that small mammals, even fish, and carrion have been its regular technique of sustenance. For the reason that Native People say it is so – no less than in response to their mythology – you need to ask your self whether or not or not a 50 pound chicken, who may clearly carry its personal weight and possibly a bit extra by way of the air, may truly fly with a 100 to 150 pound payload? That is 150 to 200 kilos all up the chicken is carrying. Now that is a fairly large ask.
Has anybody seen an owl or an eagle or different flying raptor carry off prey two to 3 instances its personal weight? Now it is likely to be one factor for a really giant chicken to select you up (particularly in the event you’re useless and never struggling) and carry you off whereas involved with the bottom, like the phobia birds, no less than for a brief method since in any case you are still very heavy in comparison with the chicken. But it surely’s fairly different kettle of fish for a chicken to select you up and really fly away with you with none leg and floor assist in any respect. Flying (flapping wings) may be very vitality intensive at the most effective of instances (we have all seen birds in gliding mode so as to preserve vitality), far much less making an attempt to carry up and flap wings with twice or thrice its regular physique weight to wrestle with.
Now we have all seen wildlife documentaries exhibiting a big carnivorous chicken swooping low over the water after which grabbing an unsuspecting fish out of the water with its talons. Now that fish might even be as giant and heavy because the chicken itself, however the prey cannot be that a lot bigger and positively not twice as giant and heavy because the predator. The chicken, so near the water, cannot afford to be dragged down by additional unmanageable weight into the water – then it is bye-bye birdie.
Transferring again to the land, raptor birds can and do assault prey a lot bigger than themselves. The bones of those giant prey animals have been discovered within the raptor’s nests or lairs. An eagle would possibly assault a deer or fawn. The deer cannot actually defend itself very effectively out within the open. However that is to not say that the eagle can truly carry off the deer carcass entire, quite it is going to tear out chunks at a time and carry them take-away type again to the nest. If not feeding younger, it simply would possibly dine in on the spot, solely flapping away if threatened by the looks of bigger scavengers.
In human phrases, a traditional common match human could possibly life twice its physique weight however cannot hardly be anticipated to run an impediment course carrying it. Half a human’s physique weight possibly, however not twice far much less thrice.
Now in additional ‘trendy’ instances, there have been a number of sightings of large and different unknown birds – critters that fall inside the realm of research referred to as cryptozoology. Having appeared over the ‘trendy’ (1850 up to now) cryptozoological literature, most sightings show to be strange birds although maybe seen out of their regular territory and thus considerably unfamiliar to the viewer. Most unexplained avian species stay unverified and often too small to be the type of critter we have been in search of. Sightings of monster birds, whereas they exist, have by no means yielded up the type of knowledge that might have confirmed their actuality. No dung, no feathers, no carcass, no bones. Unknown monster birds, in the event that they do nonetheless exist, are working out of habitat to cover in; in reality they in all probability have run out of viable environmental residing house. In the event that they have not been confirmed by now they in all probability will not ever be. In addition to, any unknown North American birds, monster or in any other case, would have lengthy since been shot out of the sky by trigger-happy People.