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Weird History

11 Of The Most Frightening Man-Eating Animals In History

Of all the deaths caused by human-animal interaction, wild animal attacks are one of the most rare. In the United States between 2008 and 2015, there were 1,610 animal-related fatalities (excluding fatalities caused by venomous bites). That's a rate of 4.8 deaths per million people. For comparison, there are about 38,000 automotive fatalities in the US each year. Even within the animal kingdom, lions and tigers and bears - however fearsome - are nowhere near as collectively dangerous as the humble mosquito.

But occasionally throughout history, large wild animals have been responsible for brutal attacks on human populations. Traditionally, these attacks have occurred in places and times where humans were expanding their societies into animal habitation via farming, urbanization, or both. Animal attacks can be especially likely if wild animal populations become dependent on humans for food. While attacks like this have always been relatively rare compared to other animal-related causes of death, like venomous bites or illness, they still capture the public imagination. They stoke a deep, primal fear, perhaps evoking a time in our evolutionary past when we were not at the top of the food chain.

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