May 6, 2011

Modern Pterosaur in Cuba

Patty's father tried to convince her she could not have seen a flying dinosaur, but the six-year-old girl was adamant: In spite of what grownups wanted to believe, it was no pelican or frigate bird, for it was standing as tall as a man and had a mouth full of teeth. Except for her younger brother, who was with her during the encounter, no family member believed her, so she gave up trying to convince anybody.

I was thrilled at the long email Patty Carson sent me a few weeks ago. I gave her a surprise phone call on May 4, 2011, and verified the high credibility of this eyewitness of a modern pterosaur at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, around 1965. Her account deserves to be told in her own words.
My brother George was with me, but he was only around four. We were walking down near the boat yards, headed home. . . . We were walking from the boat yards toward home, but still closer to the boat yards, to where it was sandy underfoot, sparse scrub vegetation around four feet tall, smelled like tar from the boatyard . . . We were walking through that scrub area, and suddenly it sat up, as if it had been eating something or resting. The head and upper part of its body, about a third of the wings at the joint (tips still held down) showed. . . . right in front of us about thirty feet away. All of us froze for about five seconds, then it leaned to its left and took off with a fwap fwap fwap sound . . . and flew to its left and disappeared behind trees and terrain.
It did have a tail and it had a diamond shaped tip, (didn't get to see if it had hairs on it) The skin was a leathery, brownish reddish color. It had little teeth, a LOT of them. The eye was smallish and dark. . . .
On the phone, Patty told me that the structure at the end of the tail (what she called a "diamond") was about five inches long and about three inches wide. I have noticed that eyewitnesses around the world report this Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur tail flange, or tail vane, although they sometimes use different words for it, often "diamond."

To understand this 1965 sighting by this child, Patty, we need to know about the sighting by the U.S. Marine Eskin Kuhn, in 1971, for as a talented artist he sketched the two pterosaurs that he had observed at the Guantanamo Bay military installation, and let the world know about his encounter.

Long-Tailed Pterosaurs in Cuba
[Two] Pterosaurs…flying together at … perhaps 100 feet [above the ground], very close in range . . . so that I had a perfectly clear view of them . . . the texture of the wings appeared to be very similar to that of bats . . . had a long tail trailing behind with a tuft of hair at the end . . .  with a long crest at the back, long bill, long neck . . . wingspan [was] roughly 10 feet . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment.