Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tunnel Pterodactyl of 1856

Apparently, the Illustrated London News carried an article about a "pterodactyl" that workmen discovered while laboring in a tunnel for a railway line, between Saint-Dizier and Nancy, France. The large creature (some readers assumed a pterosaur) was said to have stumbled out from the limestone, fluttered its wings, made a croaking noise, and dropped dead. I have not myself seen this article, but if my information is correct the story is in the February 9, 1856 issue, page 166.

Much has been made of the obvious signs that this was only a hoax; I agree, it looks like a hoax. But some critics of living-pterosaur investigations have tried to use that to dispute eyewitness sightings in the 20th and 21st Centuries. How shabby that reasoning! Would they propose abolishing all modern governments in the Western Hemisphere because of the 19th Century behavior of Napoleon Bonaparte?

I've seen no name for either an interviewer or eyewitness in the Illustrated London News report. But I have myself interviewed many eyewitnesses of creatures described like living pterosaurs, eyewitnesses from around the world, and I have found much evidence against any hoax-explanation for those accounts as a whole.

Let us give up any idea of a post mortem examination of the "tunnel pterodactyl." Instead, examine the reports that continue to come in, recent reports of living creatures. Let us also set aside the mocking croaks of critics who would bury any eyewitness evidence that might contradict standard dogma about universal pterosaur-extinction. Let recently-opened cases remain open until we have examined them, for only then can we be sure, one way or the other.

British biologist observed strange flying glowing objects (ropen lights)

Nineteenth Century Hoax (Pterosaur)
I don’t say that everything that Kuban says about reports of modern pterosaurs is wrong, but that he may do more harm than good by trying to convince people that pterosaurs all became extinct long ago. And one thing he probably does not understand, and this relates to that old London newspaper story, is that nineteenth century newspapers, when they carried joke-articles, may have been influenced by true stories that were not mentioned in the hoax-story articles.

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