The Mapuche natives of northwestern Patagonia, that lived in the central part of the province of Neuquén, near what is now the city of San Martín de los Andes, believed in several gigantic beings.
One of them (which I mention in my book) was known as the Trauko -do not mistake with Chiloé’s Trauco dwarf which is a completely different creature with a similar sounding name.
Trauko dwelled along the banks of Collón Curá River -a name which means "stone mask" in Mapuche language- in Neuquén (40°00’ S, 70°49’ W).
The name probably reflects the presence of fossils in the area (there are plenty of dino bones in Neuquén province, close to the surface).
Native myths describe Trauko as a real hideous monster: a “terrible giant, man eater”. He was described as hairy and having “a very long beard and his hair, that seemed like rush stalks were fire red color”.
Trauko was not invulnerable and the dogs of a young Indian woman killed it.
The interesting part of this story is the "fire red color" of his hair. Trauko was a primitive hominid with red hair!
It rang a bell as I recalled the "red headed" Neanderthals (see my post on Blemyes)... could Trauko be an ancient memory about Neanderthals among the Mapuche?
 Koessler-Ilg, B., (2000). Cuentan los Araucanos: Mitos, leyendas y tradiciones. B. Aires: Del Nuevo Extremo. . pp. 71.
 Photo, "Neandertaler", by Thomas Kohler, Some rights reserved Creative Commons License.
Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2012 by Austin Whittall ©