Long Tails of Pterosaurs

Regarding sightings of live pterosaurs, let’s be clear about what we’re talking about with long tails. Most eyewitnesses either do not mention anything about the tail or mention that it was long. Relatively few tell us that there was not any long tail. For example:

Irvine, California, Pterosaur Sighting

In the summer of 2007, just north of the University of California at Irvine, near the duck ponds, a creature flew over the road at low altitude, in clear daylight. It was about as long, nose-to-tail-end, as the width of that road, in other words thirty feet. The anonymous eyewitness said that the tail along was about 15-16 feet long, and it had wrinkles on the underside of the wings, showing the lack of feathers. At the end of the tail was a flange that the eyewitness said was “triangle-shaped.”

Bougainville Island, New Guinea, Sighting

The creature I saw one early morning in Bougainville is etched in my memory. It was so unusual. I actually heard it before I saw it. A slow flap…flap…flaping sound. . . . I can still hear that slow flapping sound in the stillness of an early tropical morn, on the road from Panguna down to loloho on Bougainville Island in 1971.

When I looked up, trying to see what was making this sound, i saw a very unusual creature. Firstly, it was very big (wingspan at least 2 metres, probably more…possibly much , much more). . . . I had never seen anything like it before. It certainly  looked prehistoric, in that it did not look like any other bird that I have seen before or since. Why prehistoric? Well, maybe my memory has been influenced by the intervening years, but I recall seeing this creature with a longish narrow tail . . .

The most striking thing was the giant wingspan. (in relation to the size of the body), and not a feather in sight (and that is not to say that there weren’t feathers…maybe I could not discern them).

 

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Reply to Glen Kuban

 

Kongamato in Africa

In 1956 an engineer is said to have seen a kongamato at Fort Rosebery in Northern Rhodesia, in what is now Zambia. At about sunset, he saw two of them flying slowly overhead. The wingspan he thought was about three feet, perhaps a bit more. The length of the kongamato, including beak and tail, was about four feet or a bit more, and it had a long thin tail.

 

“Pterodactyl” Sightings Worldwide

It was very large, about 4 or 5 feet in height . . . no feathers . . . leathery looking. It had a large long, wide beak & the classic appendage (the long bone looking thing sticking out the back of its head). it was perched on the edge of the roof . . . Its tail looked like a lions tail; it was very long & had a bushy or hairy tip.

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Quoting part of one of the eyewitness sighting reports:

“One evening, I was outside my apartment building . . . talking to my brother. . . . We were very used to the normal nightly activities of the area. We knew what the local birds and bats looked like . . .

“My dad and I had, on several occasions, noticed bats flying right near our heads . . . Neither my brother or I was prone to being scared by anything outside at night. This night was different.

“We noticed something flying around across the road . . . the creature was flying just above the phone lines. It would go one direction, turn, and swoop back. The shape was wrong for any large bird of the area, and the size was much too large to be any bat I have ever seen (I have seen a flying fox in a zoo, too, once with wings spread). The wingspan was huge, anywhere from 6-10 feet across.”

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