Civil War Pteranodon Photograph

controversial photograph of what looks like six Union soldiers standing over the remains of a large Pteranodon

*Important Update on “Ptp” Civil War Photo

In January of 2017, the physicist Clifford Paiva and I agreed that this old photograph has a valid image of a modern pterosaur. Please see the more recent post that was published on the Modern Pterosaur blog: “Civil War Pterodactyl Photo.” What follows is the older post on this subject, written before critically important discoveries and announcements in early 2017.

The Original April-2013 Post

This may be the hot topic now, so I’ll pitch in. This old looking photo shows a few Union soldiers and a large pterosaur that we’re led to believe was shot by those men. The big question is whether or not this is an accurate version of a real photographic recording during the Civil War. I’ll be honest, I don’t know*.

I read a comment somewhere, on some forum thread, about this photo. Somebody said that if some soldiers really had seen a giant pterosaur then it would have gotten into the newspapers. I disagree. Back then, newspaper editors would not take hold of a monster story when there were so many war stories to write about. Some huge bird would not have been nearly as interesting as how the latest battle had gone.

I think this photo has been around a long time. I also think I know something about why people might not believe it’s a real photo. I mean in recent years. People just assume it’s another fake. For years now we’re been bombarded by fakery in photos and in videos, so it makes it easy to turn away from this Civil War photo.

The wings look a little like canoes, too. That just about does it in. But if people would think about it a little deeper they would realize there may be more to this photo. It is either a Photoshop fake or an old fake by the soldiers themselves. I don’t think it’s both. So if it’s some kind of hoax, which one is it?

It’s a little too good to have been made by those soldiers, except for those wings. And it’s hard to believe that a modern Photoshop hoaxer would put two canoes into the picture as if they were wings. That makes this photograph a real mystery. Maybe it’s a real Pteranodon with wings that became twisted over many days after the animal’s death.

Photograph of a Modern Pterosaur?

Let’s assume somebody decided to make a hoax photo of a convincing recently-deceased Pteranodon. Using Photoshop, how would a hoaxer make it convincing? Would he use an image of a dugout canoe for the wings of the giant pterosaur? Not likely. Would he use or construct anything looking like an image of dugout canoe? Not likely.

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About Norman Huntington AKA Jonathan Whitcomb

Passionately supporting research into living modern pterosaurs
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