Living Pterosaurs: North America

Breakfastologist

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Does anyone recall anything about possible surviving Pterosaurs living in the mountains of Mexico?

I seem to recall some rather reputable documentary on the possibility, but I haven't seen the possibility mentioned since. Can anyone shed more recent light?
 
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Modern Sightings

Although there seems to be no hard evidence that pterosaurs did not die out millions of years ago - no pterosaurs have ever been captured and no bodies have ever been found - sightings have persisted. Stories of flying reptiles have been recorded for many hundreds of years. Some think that tales of the "mythical" dragons in the lore of many cultures around the would could be attributed to the sighting of pterosaurs. Here are some more modern accounts:

May, 1961, New York State - A businessman flying his private plane over the Hudson River Valley claimed that he was "buzzed" by a large flying creature that he said "looked more like a pterodactyl out of the prehistoric ages."

Early 1960s, California - A couple driving through Trinity National Forest reported seeing the silhouette of a giant "bird" that they estimated to have a wingspan of 14 feet. They later described it as resembling a pterodactyl.

January, 1976, Harlingen, Texas - Jackie Davis (14) and Tracey Lawson (11) reported seeing a "bird" on the ground that stood five feet tall, was dark in color with a bald head and a face like a gorilla's with a sharp, six-inch-long beak. A subsequent investigation by their parents uncovered tracks that had three toes and were eight inches across.

February, 1976, San Antonio, Texas - Three elementary school teachers saw what they described as a pterodactyl swooping low over their cars as they drove. They said its wingspan was between 15 and 20 feet. One of the teachers commented that it glided through the air on huge, bony wings - like a bat's.

September, 1982, Los Fresnos, Texas - An ambulance driver named James Thompson was stopped while driving on Highway 100 by his sighting of a "large birdlike object" flying low over the area. He described it as black or grayish with a rough texture, but no feathers. It had a five- to six-foot wingspan, a hump on the back of its head, and almost no neck at all. After consulting some books to identify the creature, he decided it most looked like a pterosaur.

Africa's Kongamato

While other reports of pterosaur-like creatures have come out of Arizona, Mexico and Crete, it is out of central Africa that some of the most interesting anecdotes have come. While traveling though Zambia in 1923, Frank H. Melland collected reports from natives of an aggressive flying reptile they called kongamoto, which means "overwhelmer of boats." The natives, who were occasionally tormented by these creatures, described them as being featherless with smooth skin, having a beak full of teeth and a wingspan of between four and seven feet. When shown illustrations of pterosaurs, Melland reported, "every native present immediately and unhesitatingly picked out and identified it as a kongamato."

In 1925, a native man was allegedly attacked by a creature that he identified as a pterosaur. This occurred near a swamp in Rhodesia (now Zambia) where the man suffered a large wound in his chest that he said was caused by the monster's long beak.

In the late 1980s, noted cryptozoologist Roy Mackal led an expedition into Namibia from which he had heard reports of a prehistoric-looking creature with a wingspan of up to 30 feet.
 
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There is some conjecture among Thunderbird researchers that they migrate from Canada to the mountains of northern Mexico.
 

EnolaGaia

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This thread is being established to consolidate multiple scattered references to North American living pterosaur sightings.
 

Lord Lucan

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The trailer for 'Terror in the Skies' from Small Town Monsters. I've watched this on Amazon Prime (worth watching if you have it). Lots of interesting first hand tales of people who've claimed to have seen such beasts in the skies. Delves into Mothman as well as some other Central American creatures, but mostly focuses on North America.
 

gordonrutter

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I’m always intrigued by these stories. The rational part of me thinks they are probably just unfamiliar birds for the most part, but...
I would live to have the money / freedom to be a roving Fortean reporter and be able to drop everything to investigate these reports when they come and to stay in the locations for a reasonable length of time. Same with the Thylacine, spend several months in suitable locations.
The gofundme starts now...
 

Sharon Hill

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I’m always intrigued by these stories. The rational part of me thinks they are probably just unfamiliar birds for the most part, but...
I would live to have the money / freedom to be a roving Fortean reporter and be able to drop everything to investigate these reports when they come and to stay in the locations for a reasonable length of time. Same with the Thylacine, spend several months in suitable locations.
The gofundme starts now...
There is a 65 million year difference between pterosaurs and thylacines. What’s just as bad is that the living pterosaur stuff is promoted by Creationists who are not objective researchers.

There are positively no living pterosaurs. The reports of thunderbirds aren’t great either. Of all animals that people can mess up in terms of describing features and size, birds are second only to fish.
 

gordonrutter

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There is a 65 million year difference between pterosaurs and thylacines. What’s just as bad is that the living pterosaur stuff is promoted by Creationists who are not objective researchers.

There are positively no living pterosaurs. The reports of thunderbirds aren’t great either. Of all animals that people can mess up in terms of describing features and size, birds are second only to fish.
Don’t worry I don’t really give very much credence to the living pterosaurs, but the romantic in me would love it to be true.
 

Lord Lucan

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There is a 65 million year difference between pterosaurs and thylacines. What’s just as bad is that the living pterosaur stuff is promoted by Creationists who are not objective researchers.

There are positively no living pterosaurs. The reports of thunderbirds aren’t great either. Of all animals that people can mess up in terms of describing features and size, birds are second only to fish.

Absolutely. Here in South Eastern Australia we have a number of eagles that can from the right perspective, appear enormous. We also have black cockatoos which are slow flying birds, and whilst not as big as birds of prey, they are impressive for their sheer bulk when flying at tree top height.
What intrigues me always though, is how someone mistakes a bird for a pterosaur. There are obvious differences. Are the bulk of these reports by people who may not be (shall we say) educated enough to know? A genuine mistake? Fear? Or someone wanting their 15 minutes of fame?
 

Lord Lucan

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Don’t worry I don’t really give very much credence to the living pterosaurs, but the romantic in me would love it to be true.

You took the words right out of my mouth. I couldn't agree more. I got a book for Christmas called 'Copper State Monsters - Cryptids & Legends of Arizona' which I've not started yet, but looking forward to.
copper.jpg
 

Sharon Hill

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What intrigues me always though, is how someone mistakes a bird for a pterosaur. There are obvious differences. Are the bulk of these reports by people who may not be (shall we say) educated enough to know? A genuine mistake? Fear? Or someone wanting their 15 minutes of fame?

Notice how, as with dinosaurs, people report a description that looks like the popular depiction in the media. (Heck, the same argument can be made for many cryptids (“scriptids”), UFOs, ghosts, and aliens). People are heavily influenced by what they absorb in movies, tv, and news reports. We see something surprising and the brain fills in the details. This is my favored explanation for many paranormal-themed events. But it’s not a popular one because it’s mundane and disappointing.
 

EnolaGaia

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... What intrigues me always though, is how someone mistakes a bird for a pterosaur. There are obvious differences. Are the bulk of these reports by people who may not be (shall we say) educated enough to know? A genuine mistake? Fear? Or someone wanting their 15 minutes of fame?

There's at least one common such misidentification that's admittedly suggestive from a distance - the frigate birds. The lengthy angular wings, prominent beak, and especially the very long trailing tail feather cluster all resemble aspects of classic pterosaur illustrations.
 

Lord Lucan

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There's at least one common such misidentification that's admittedly suggestive from a distance - the frigate birds. The lengthy angular wings, prominent beak, and especially the very long trailing tail feather cluster all resemble aspects of classic pterosaur illustrations.

I'd not heard of frigate birds before now. I've just looked them up. I see what you mean. Their silhouette is uncannily similar to what we'd imagine a pterosaur to look like.
 

Lord Lucan

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Notice how, as with dinosaurs, people report a description that looks like the popular depiction in the media. (Heck, the same argument can be made for many cryptids (“scriptids”), UFOs, ghosts, and aliens). People are heavily influenced by what they absorb in movies, tv, and news reports. We see something surprising and the brain fills in the details. This is my favored explanation for many paranormal-themed events. But it’s not a popular one because it’s mundane and disappointing.

An entirely plausible explanation. I believe that people like explanations for things that (to them) seem out of place, foreign or unknown. What we can't perceive or understand, sometimes scares us. Giving it a rationale, no matter how strange or absurd puts our minds at ease.
 

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Absolutely. Here in South Eastern Australia we have a number of eagles that can from the right perspective, appear enormous. We also have black cockatoos which are slow flying birds, and whilst not as big as birds of prey, they are impressive for their sheer bulk when flying at tree top height.
What intrigues me always though, is how someone mistakes a bird for a pterosaur. There are obvious differences. Are the bulk of these reports by people who may not be (shall we say) educated enough to know? A genuine mistake? Fear? Or someone wanting their 15 minutes of fame?

A cleaner at my old workplace came running into the foyer in a panic because there was a pterodactyl outside the window of the office she was cleaning. So we rushed off to see this beast. The office overlooked a small quadrangle with a pond, and there happily dining on the fish in the pond was a heron.
 

Sharon Hill

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A cleaner at my old workplace came running into the foyer in a panic because there was a pterodactyl outside the window of the office she was cleaning. So we rushed off to see this beast. The office overlooked a small quadrangle with a pond, and there happily dining on the fish in the pond was a heron.
Another important point! The general public is really inept at identifying animals that are abundant around them. They aren’t well versed in zoology in general. It’s really a stretch to think they could describe a animal known only from fossils and speculative depictions. Think about all the house cats reported as lions or tigers these days.
 

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Another important point! The general public is really inept at identifying animals that are abundant around them. They aren’t well versed in zoology in general. It’s really a stretch to think they could describe a animal known only from fossils and speculative depictions. Think about all the house cats reported as lions or tigers these days.

My wife and I were owned by a Norwegian Forest Cat, a beautiful and large female, nearly 20 pounds and sporting a magnificent mane of golden hair. Living in an apartment complex with an atrium at the time we'd take her for walks. One little (human) girl saw her and called out "Look Daddy, a baby lion!"
 

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My wife and I were owned by a Norwegian Forest Cat, a beautiful and large female, nearly 20 pounds and sporting a magnificent mane of golden hair. Living in an apartment complex with an atrium at the time we'd take her for walks. One little (human) girl saw her and called out "Look Daddy, a baby lion!"

Got a photo?
 

madmath

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I'd have to scan one in, I can't find one on my ordinateur. I did find this image online that is very much like her, right to her golden eyes, except our cat's tail was as gold as the rest of her.
Norwegian Forest Cat in gold and white
 

PeteByrdie

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There are positively no living pterosaurs.
No, they were out competed by snallygasters. I think at this stage it would be almost impossible to accept that a breeding population of pterosaurs has survived undetected until the present. The same can be said of many cryptids. I'd love still to believe in such things, as I did as a teen. But, no.
 

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This seems the place to make mention of what, obviously, is a favorite series on television of mine, Paranormal - Caught on Camera. I cannot recall the exact date, but it was within the last very few years, somebody filmed a what appears to be a pteranodon, or possibly a pterodactyl cruising above Montana, possibly. In any case, whichever creature, this was near the Canadian border. It acted very life-like, even turning its head, and possibly even flipped-over briefly. Now, i don't believe everything I see there,(or on similar series, such as William Shatner's current program, The UnXplained) and they series makes it clear they know they are the attempted-victims of hoaxes from time to time-- but this seemed extremely realistic. Realize I discuss ufology the most, but am interested in several other areas of the Fortean world(s) as well. If this was somehow a fraud, it seems to me to have had to be produced by somebody with film-studio special effect abilities, and resources. While the wrong exact thread, some intriguing footage mostly from camera-phone, have appeared showing Sasquatch, Yeti, and so on, perhaps an unforeseen side-effect of better-such 'phones every year is providing increasing amounts photographic evidence of such cryptids, as well as UFOs, and more, which is becoming extremely difficult to ignore by anyone who isn't an Arch-Skeptic.

Stay Healthy, people.
 

David Plankton

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This seems the place to make mention of what, obviously, is a favorite series on television of mine, Paranormal - Caught on Camera. I cannot recall the exact date, but it was within the last very few years, somebody filmed a what appears to be a pteranodon, or possibly a pterodactyl cruising above Montana, possibly. In any case, whichever creature, this was near the Canadian border. It acted very life-like, even turning its head, and possibly even flipped-over briefly. Now, i don't believe everything I see there,(or on similar series, such as William Shatner's current program, The UnXplained) and they series makes it clear they know they are the attempted-victims of hoaxes from time to time-- but this seemed extremely realistic. Realize I discuss ufology the most, but am interested in several other areas of the Fortean world(s) as well. If this was somehow a fraud, it seems to me to have had to be produced by somebody with film-studio special effect abilities, and resources. While the wrong exact thread, some intriguing footage mostly from camera-phone, have appeared showing Sasquatch, Yeti, and so on, perhaps an unforeseen side-effect of better-such 'phones every year is providing increasing amounts photographic evidence of such cryptids, as well as UFOs, and more, which is becoming extremely difficult to ignore by anyone who isn't an Arch-Skeptic.

Stay Healthy, people.



I wonder if this is the footage you meant. I can't remember much about it but I'm pretty sure it turned out to be an animatronic model.

 

maximus otter

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A YouTube search under the term “RC Pterosaur” or “radio controlled pterodactyl” will reveal numerous videos of both home-made, and off-the-shelf, fake-tids and cryp-offs.

maximus otter
 

madmath

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My wife and I watched the first episode of "Paranormal", because our local Weird NJ heroes Mark and Mark are among the hosts. In that very first episode they showed a video purporting to be a Bigfoot that had been explained years before as a human being, a hiker who frequented the area. Even the "Finding Bigfoot" people knew that wasn't a Bigfoot, but here it was being presented again without question, and the "experts" (not Mark and Mark) had no clue. That ended that show for me.
I've written to the Weird NJ people about this, hoping they'll leave such a poorly researched show.
 

lordmongrove

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If there were real, flesh and blood, eating, hunting, breeding, pterosaurs flying around the US they would have been identified over a hundred years ago. Think about the legion of bird spotters in the country for a start. Its not like a sea serpent that can hide in the ocean or a hominin on vast forests. The ropen in New Guinea is almost certainly misidentifications of frigate birds and planes lit up at night.
 

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If there were real, flesh and blood, eating, hunting, breeding, pterosaurs flying around the US they would have been identified over a hundred years ago. Think about the legion of bird spotters in the country for a start. Its not like a sea serpent that can hide in the ocean or a hominin on vast forests. The ropen in New Guinea is almost certainly misidentifications of frigate birds and planes lit up at night.

They prey on isolated hillbillies.
 

kamalktk

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A YouTube search under the term “RC Pterosaur” or “radio controlled pterodactyl” will reveal numerous videos of both home-made, and off-the-shelf, fake-tids and cryp-offs.

maximus otter
I prefer real-tids.
 

gerhard1

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While I don't reject all such report out of hand, I do require solid evidence. I'd treat such accounts as I do any anomaly.
 
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