Dec 082012

Since late 2003, I have accumulated data on sightings (of living pterosaurs) from around the world. The latest compilation (late 2012) includes data never before analyzed in detail, in particular related to driving or riding in a vehicle.

Driving a Vehicle During a Sighting

Of those sightings in which a moving vehicle was or was not clearly involved (69 sightings), 46% (32) were when one or more eyewitnesses were in a moving vehicle (54%, 37 sightings, clearly did not involve a moving vehicle). Why do so many sightings occur to persons in moving vehicles? It relates to human activities.

Most reports of modern living pterosaurs come from Americans, for they use the internet so often and communicate, in English, through email (the vaste majority of web pages on modern pterosaurs are in English). So where do Americans spend most of their time? Indoors. There are occasions when an American will look out a window and see a flying pterosaur, but those are the exceptional sightings. Most of our time, when we are not indoors, is spent in moving vehicles, either as drivers or as passengers.

Tail Length

Sixteen sightings included estimates of tail length. The average length was over nine feet; the median, six.


The wingspan estimates average 14.5 feet, although there is a huge range in sizes, from 1.3 to 46 feet.

Pterosaur Head Crest

Out of all the sightings, about 24% involved the observation of a head crest. Only 2% of the eyewitnesses specifically mentioned the absence of a head crest.


Multiple Eyewitnesses of Pterosaurs

. . . from sighting accounts from various countries of the world, we learn that 53% of the sightings were with two or more persons (47% were of lone eyewitnesses).

Dragon Pterodactyl

Two of the more common words used to describe flying creatures that look like pterosaurs are “dragon” and “pterodactyl,” at least in the United States.

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