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Friday, June 10, 2011

Pterosaurs over the Alamo? It's Jurassic ... er, Olmos Park

Posted By on Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 5:32 PM

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Dinosaurs have invaded the San Antonio River Walk. Not real ones of course, but artificial monsters, the result of animatronics and 3-D video animation. It’s all part of Dinosaur-Quest at Rivercenter Mall, a family-oriented, educational exhibition that runs until the end of the year.

We know from a multitude of excavations around the state that Texas actually did play host to a myriad of prehistoric reptiles millions of years ago. But what are we to make of modern reports of dragon-like beasties soaring over the Alamo City? It would seem that San Antonio is a hotbed for sightings of living pterosaurs. These were the  flying contemporaries of dinosaurs: specialized airborne reptiles with leathery wings that once ruled the planet’s skies before vanishing into extinction long ago.

Nevertheless, during February of 1976, three schoolteachers from the Southside School District made local headlines when they described an encounter with two, enormous pterodactyl-type creatures while driving to work one morning. Patricia Bryant, David Rendon, and Marsha Dahlberg told reporters that they had pulled their separate cars over to the side of the road in order to view the astonishing animals hovering over a herd of cattle. After thumbing through some science books, Bryant decided that what they had seen most resembled a species known as Pteranodon. Fearful of creating a panic within the student population, school district officials quickly silenced the teachers. The previous month, two soldiers had claimed to have seen something similar at a watering hole near Poteet.

Recently, I was, contacted by a female biology student who was sure she had seen a pterosaur while driving on Loop 1604 near Lockhill-Selma. She insisted that the subject had bat-like wings, quite unlike any bird. And in 2009,  an internet website posted a report from a man who claimed he spotted a pterodactyl over Medina Lake. Do pterosaurs live on over parts of Texas? — Ken Gerhard

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