The Pteranodon Photo

The Pteranodon Photo

The Pteranodon were extremely large flying reptiles that lived near the coast during the late Cretaceous geological period of North America.

Due to their preferred location, it is thought that they mainly fed on creatures that lived in the sea.

The wings of this impressive beast were thought to have been as long as 35 feet from tip to tip. This length of wingspan would have given it a similar overall size as a modern-day hang glider.

Even though it lived through the same period as the dinosaurs – it is not considered to be one.

In this article we will be taking a look at the Pteranodon photo mystery from the Civil War. The photo is a very real photo – but is it nothing more than an (extremely) elaborate fake?

Sightings of Large Birds

For over two centuries, many people in the Kansas, Alabama, Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota areas have reported encountering huge birds.

These birds have picked up the nickname ‘Thunderbirds’ and are featured heavily in Native American mythology.

The most famous of these reports dates back to 1977 (July the 25th) when a group of three kids claimed they were chased by two Thunderbirds in Lawndale, Illinois.

One of these kids (Marlon Lowe) was apparently caught by the chasing beasts and lifted at least two feet off the ground. The bird managed to carry him for approximately 50 yards before losing it’s grip with it’s claws.

Thunderbirds are reported to exhibit lizard-like features which mirror that of the extinct Pterosaurs.

Sightings of Large Birds

The Civil War Pterosaurs

In the 1950’s a ‘mysteries’ publication from the US included an extremely strange photograph taken during the Civil War.

The image shows a group of American Civil War soldiers standing over an enormous carcass of some kind of bird…this carcass holds a strong resemblance to a Pteranodon.

The legend that goes along with the photograph claims it was taken in 1864 near the city of Vicksburg, after a group of soldiers shot the creature down.

Unfortunately, there seems to be two versions of this extraordinary photo floating around the internet. This has obviously slightly discredited the original.

The more modern version of this photo was put together for a Fox Network television series named Freaky Links. We are unsure why this modern mock-up was created but it probably had something to do with copyright issues…

Fact or Fiction?

These days the power of Photoshop hands out the ability to smash out one of these photos within the hour…but this photo has been doing the rounds for many decades now.

We actually decided to publish this article on the subject due to an influx of messages we’ve had over the last 12 months asking our opinion on it.

Some people point out that the soldier with his foot on the creature’s beak casts no shadow…whilst the bird itself casts a shadow?

Others believe that photo manipulation existed shortly after photography was mainstreamed…and this image could well have been put together (but it would have taken a LOT of work).

But the fact remains that many people (of the older generations) remember seeing this photograph when they were kids. Fact or fiction – what do you think?

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject we have covered here today, please leave them in the comment section below.

7 comments on “The Pteranodon Photo

  1. As to the age of the photo, look closely at what is under the beak of the animal. The physicist Clifford Paiva has come forward to declare that this is a tree branch, used as a prop to prevent movement of the man’s shoe and the animal’s beak, during the many seconds required for the photographic recording. That dates the photo to before about 1870.

  2. Both Civil War photos with alleged pterosaur carcasses were used by the FreakyLeaks series, and they claim copyright to both, meaning they are not real Civil War photos (else no copyright would apply). The pterosaur model used for the first photo is in Loren Coleman’s Cryptozoology Museum in Main, and the other so-called “Ptp” photo has been demonstrated to be fraudulent as well, with one wing digitally duplicated from the other. For details see:

    1. Cheers for the info Glen – whilst we’re never convinced – we always welcome the added content!!!! 🙂
      (we are geeks after all!)

  3. Looks fake. The men in relation to the plants in the background, but especially the man with his foot on the creature. It just doesn’t look natural.

  4. Even though Johnathan Whitcomb actively promoted the photo in question on many websites (as he does in his Comments above), my critique linked below provided extensive evidence that it like other similar photos was fake, culminating in evidence from last year showing without any doubt that the wings were digitially created from a pterosaur in an episode of _Walking With Dinosaurs_. As of Feb 2019 Whitcomb himself finally admitted that the photo is fake, and stopped selling his _Modern Pterosaurs_ book that heavily promoted the photo.
    For more details see: paleo(dot)cc/paluxy/livptero.htm

    1. Hi Glen,

      We tried our best to get the link in full on the comment but our security kept on refusing the input. For those of you that want to follow the link provided – replace the (dot) with an actual dot!
      I really hope that makes sense!!!

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