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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
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Claim CB930.4:

Pterodactyls, extinct flying reptiles, supposedly existed around one hundred million years ago. According to an article in The Illustrated London News of February 9, 1856, page 166, workmen discovered a living pterodactyl. In the winter of 1856, they were working on a railway tunnel between St. Dizey and the Nancy lines, and they had broken and removed a boulder of Jurassic limestone, when the creature stumbled out of the tunnel toward them. It fluttered its wings, croaked, and collapsed dead at their feet. It had a wingspan of ten feet seven inches, four legs with talons for feet, legs joined by a membrane like a bat, a mouth filled with sharp teeth, and black, leathery, oily skin. An exact mold of the creature's body was found in the limestone from which the creature was released.


Baugh, Carl E. 1989. Panorama of Creation. Oklahoma City, OK: Hearthstone Publishing, Ltd., pp. 19-21.
Doolan, Robert. 1993. Are dinosaurs alive today? Where Jurassic Park went wrong! Creation 15(4) (Sept.): 12-15.


  1. The story is true to the extent that the discovery of a pterodactyl was reported in the 1856 newspaper.

    At the time, there was a great Franco-Prussian rivalry, and the Solnhofen Limestone from Bavaria (from which Archaeopteryx would later be discovered) was producing many fabulous fossils which were loudly trumpeted by German paleontologists. When a tunnel was being built in France through limestone the same age as the Solnhofen Limestone, French "gentlemen geologists" took the opportunity to trumpet a story of their own. In the original report, the pterodactyl crumbled to dust, conveniently leaving no evidence.

    The newspaper account identified the pterodactyl as Pterodactylus anas. Pterodactylus is a genus of robin-sized pterosaurs, none with a wingspan even approaching ten feet. "Anas" is Latin for "duck," which is "canard" in French, which is an English word for a hoax.

  2. The story is ridiculous on its face and really deserves no more response than ridicule. When did creationists decide that gullibility is a virtue?


Kuban, Glen J., 2005. Living pterodactyls?

Nedin, Chris. 1994. Re: Worst YEC book ever.
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created 2005-9-20