Pterosaurs and Kongamatos by Davy Russell
POSTED: 25 April 99
Even the most seasoned bird watchers or knowledgeable ornithologists may have trouble
identifying a large bird-like creature occasionally reported in the skies above the American
Southwest. This "bird" has a wingspan of up to 20 feet. Itís most notable features are a
large beak and a large bony crest on the back of its head. What catches most observers
off guard though is its absence of feathers. Upon closer investigation, the "bird" does not
have wings but a thin layer of skin running from a long finger on the hand to the lower
leg. The skin is shaped much like a wing but is used to glide on air currents much like
bats do. Most paleontologists will tell you that the Pterosaur (including the pterodactylus
and pteranodon.), a flying reptile of the Mesozoic era, has been extinct for over 60 million
years; however, several recent sightings may suggest these large "flying" reptiles are still
The book, "Strange & Unexplained Phenomena" by Jerome Clark and Nancy Pear
describes a sighting of an alleged pterosaur by James Thompson on the early morning of
September 14, 1982. He was driving on a highway in Fresno, Texas when he saw a black
or grayish creature gliding low to the ground. It had a 5-6 foot wingspan and a
"hyde-type" covering instead of feathers. Others who have seen the creature describe
many of the same features of the extinct Pterosaur, most sightings placing the creature low
to the ground as a gliding reptile would be.
The American Southwest is not the only place to catch a glimpse of these prehistoric
survivors. Africa has been home to a similar creature known as the Kongamato which
means "breaker of boats". African natives describe the Kongamato as a lizard-type
creature with bat-like wings spanning 4-7 feet across and reddish in color. It was believed
to be very dangerous. It is interesting to note that British colonial service worker Frank
Melland, upon hearing of the strange creature, showed illustrations of the pterosaur to
natives who quickly identified it as the legendary Kongamato.
There are some controversial theories surrounding the North American Pterosaur and
those of Africa as well. There is no scientific evidence that the Pterosaur is alive today, no
bodies, photographs, etc. only eye witness reports. To the rationalist (skeptic), the
pterosaur is nothing more than misidentifications of modern birds such as herons or storks
perhaps; or sightings are imagined or hoaxed.
Cryptozoologists (who also chase after the large Thunderbird of the American Southwest)
may use the argument that if prehistoric Sauropods survived in Africa (Mokele-Mbembe)
and South America and are sighted today along with aquatic Plesiosaurs in Loch Ness and
other lakes worldwide, then it is possible that the Pterosaur could have escaped dinosaur
fate as well.
A paranormal theory speculates that Pterosaurs are actually from other dimensions or
from the past and unintentionally slip past "gates" in time or space which transport them
where they can be seen by bewildered contemporary humans. Lack of evidence is
accounted for as the Pterosaur usually finds its way back without leaving a trace of its
brief modern existence. This theory is based on speculation surrounding the Bermuda
Triangle and other enigmatic areas on earth known for the disappearance of humans, UFO
activity, and strange creatures. In fact, the "time/space gateway" theory has been applied
to bigfoot and lake monsters as well.
For more information on Pterosaurs, see "Strange and Unexplained Phenomena" by Jerome Clark and Nancy Pear and "Searching for Hidden Animals" by Roy P. Mackal.