"Ice Age" movies bring endearing animals to life for our enjoyment. However, for kids who lived during that era, they were anything but cute. Bones of one of those Neanderthal children were uncovered in Cave Ciemna some years back. Recently, studies of the bones revealed the little tyke ended up eaten by a giant bird," Science in Poland reported. Giant birds join the list of animals that ate our near relatives.

Ice Age Neanderthal kids lived in dangerous times

Ice Age Neanderthal kids lived in dangerous times and in Southern Europe they competed for shelter in caves with enormous beasts.

For starters, the Cave Hyena, much larger than today's scavenger, weighed around 225 lbs (102 kilograms) and preyed on ancient people if they got the chance. Additionally, Neanderthals themselves noshed on their own kind. Christian Casseyas, an archaeologist from Belgium confirmed it through a discovery in the Goyet cave system. Plys.Org reported that researchers found clear evidence of that as "human bones from a newborn, a child and four adults or teenagers," showed cuts and scrape marks that removed the flesh.

That's pretty disturbing if you throw in other predators like the European Lion, and The Sabretoothed Tiger. Now, we hear of a giant bird snacking on the Neanderthal kids as well. Prof.

Paweł Valde-Nowak from the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, noted that the bones eaten by the bird make for the first evidence of this type of behavior. The bones had distinct bird digestive system markings on them. Nevetherless, no one can say for sure if the bird killed the child aged between five and seven-years-old.

Massive elephant birds occurred in Madagascar and the Moa lived in New Zealand but they ate vegetation, were flightless birds, and a little too far from Southern Europe to be the culprits.

But everything was bigger back then. Flying birds had to catch much larger prey, so maybe one of them ate the child.

Giant birds and Neanderthals lived in Poland

During the time the Neanderthals lived in Southern Poland, the north was covered by a continental glacier, which forced predators, prey, and Neanderthals south. Obviously, giant birds also went along.

The Neanderthals and all the giant animals became extinct. At one stage, scientists thought Neanderthals were little more than animals themselves. However, recent rock art and tool finds indicate they were more intelligent than first believed.

Although the Neanderthals went extinct, DNA evidence proves that they did interbreed with Homo Sapiens, according to Science in Poland. New Scientist explains that "Homo sapiens is believed to have taken on Neanderthal DNA from at least two bouts of interbreeding." On their way out of the world, no doubt many Neanderthal children were killed and eaten. But whether they were a regular part of the diet of giant Ice Age-era birds or not, is not yet known.