Iâm thinking that maybe the best part of my articles are the titles. Should I just stop right here? After all these years Iâm still a hunt and peck typist and that took something out of me already. Whereâs that Dragon Naturally speaking program?
The Penn State Dinosaur that Was?
Dragon? Oh yeah, naturally, letâs start with the Penn State âdragonâ.
To be fair, they donât call this one a dragon; they call it âzoomorphicâ. If youâre interested in looking for dinosaurs in the art of the ancient peoples-in the art of people who lived within the last 5,000 years or so and have an opportunity to search a database of objects, try the words; dragon, zoomorphic, mythical, beast, grotesque, reptile or unknown creature.
This is not to say that these objects will necessarily be depictions of dinosaurs, Iâm just saying searching ancient art using the term âdinosaurâ is not a profitable enterprise.
I grew up believing that dinosaurs and man lived together as the Bible would have us believe, (calling them dragons). There was a time when I was less than convinced and so set out to find out the truth for myself. Subsequently itâs been confirmed by me after Iâve had the opportunity to search university databases and to view hundreds of thousands of pieces of ancient art in museum collections and for sale in private auctions that we did live within the time of the dinosaurs and that the proof is there.
As for ancient artifacts, the more they resemble a dinosaur, the less likely they will be on public view in a museum and the less valuable they will be. No museum wants to buy your ancient Aztec dinosaur.
Anyway, I read recently that the University of Pennsylvaniaâs Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology was opening its collection of over 1 million objects to public view through a free online archive;
âSince its founding in 1887, the Penn Museum has collected around one million objects, many obtained directly through its own field excavations or anthropological research. Search the Penn Museum’s digital collections including 326,000 object records representing 660,000 objects with 51,500 images.â
Naturally, my immediate thought was; âI wonder if I can find some dinosaurs in that collectionâ. First, I searched for the word, âdragonâ. Slim pickings. Then I searched the word zoomorphic. This is one of the items I discovered.
In shape of a lizard
Max Uhle, William Pepper Peruvian Expedition, Funded by Phebe A. Hearst
Other Number / Type:
362 / Field No SF
In the shape of a lizard! But no lizard ever looked like that in my estimation. However, being able to call the object; âzoomorphicâ and a âlizardâ is why youâre getting to see the object in the first place. Any objects which would have to be classified a âdinosaurâ are by definition; fakes.
On the other hand since my impression of the object is that it represents a dinosaur, I have to ask myself; what kind of dinosaur? It appears to be a quadrupedal dinosaur, but it is not long necked like a sauropod or even a prosauropod and it is not an armored dinosaur, nor one of the horned dinosaurs of the ceratopsian family.
This is what I did; I Googled; short necked South American dinosaurs and began perusing that group to see if modern day paleontologists had discovered a short necked, squat, quadrupedal dinosaur in South America, preferably in the Bolivian area which corresponded with an ancient artists depiction of a dinosaur living in his time. Did you follow that?
Hereâs what I found.
âBrachy-trachelopan is an unusual short-necked sauropod dinosaur from the latest Jurassic Period (Tithonian) of Argentina. The holotype and only known specimen (Museo PaleontolĂłgico Egidio Feruglio MPEF-PV 1716) was collected from an erosional exposure of fluvial sandstone within the CaĂąadĂłn CĂĄlcero Formation on a hill approximately 25 km north-northeast of Cerro CĂłndor, Chubut Province, in west-central Argentina, South America.
Though very incomplete, the skeletal elements recovered were found in articulation and include eight cervical, twelve dorsal, and three sacral vertebrae, as well as proximal portions of the posterior cervical ribs and all the doral ribs, the distal end of the left femur, the proximal end of the left tibia, and the right ilium. Much of the specimen was probably lost to erosion many years before its discovery. The type species is Brachytrachelopan mesai. The specific name honours Daniel Mesa, a local shepherd who discovered the specimen while searching for lost sheep. The genus name translates as “short-necked Pan”, Pan being the god of the shepherds.ââŚWikipedia
Distance from Bolivia to Argentina? 1500 Miles. So could Brachytrachelopan have had a range of 1500 miles on the South American continent? Is this the least scientific investigation possible?
No, see paleontology.
Could this ancient piece represent in an artful, non literal way a quadrupedal dinosaur like Brachytrachelopan living not millions of years ago but less than a thousand years ago on the South American continent or; is it just a fat lizard?
Youâll have to decide that for yourself.
The Ancient Chinese Rhinoceros that Wasnât
I was saving this as an entry in Part 2 of my Article: Crouching Dragon, Hidden Dinosaur; How Evolutionary Science Hides Historical Man and Dinosaur Interaction in Plain Sight but since that hasn’t been compiled yet I’ll place two planned entries for that article here.
Along with euphemisms like âzoomorphicâ, âmythicalâ and âdragonâ that it turns out are often appended to the rare depiction of the dinosaur found in museum collections and at private auction sales is the tendency to misidentify animal depictions.
This is because when the curator is not sure what creature it is that is being represented by the ancient artist he still likes to come up with an answer that is not outside the realm of currently accepted science and which satisfies the potential customer.
Itâs an ancient Chinese bear, a new owner might say proudly to his houseguests as they stare into his lighted display case at what is actually a ground sloth. Everyone still oohs and ahhs.
This particular piece was sold at auction at Christieâs auction house in 2007 for $216,000. Here is the description:
Lot Description A RARE AND SMALL BRONZE FIGURE OF A RHINOCEROS
TANG DYNASTY (618-907 AD)
Shown standing four-square with tail flicked to the left, the head well cast with two horns of different length, ears pricked back, small eyes and downward curved, overlapping muzzle sensitively cast along the upper edges of the mouth with folds in the skin, which can also be seen in the skin of the neck and chest, the thick hide indicated by overlapping wave pattern diminishing in size on the head and legs, with a rectangular aperture in the belly, the dark brownish surface with some patches of dark red patina and green encrustation.
Lot Notes The depiction of the rhinoceros in bronze is very rare, especially during the Tang period. Earlier depictions do exist, however, as evidenced by the late Shang rhinoceros zun in the Avery Brundage Collection, illustrated by d’ArgencĂ¨, The Ancient Chinese Bronzes, San Francisco, 1966, pl. XIX and another large zun (22 7/8in. long), ornately decorated, but quite realistic in its depiction of a rhinoceros, of late Eastern Zhou/Western Han dynasty date, found in Xingping Xian, Shaanxi province, included in the exhibition, The Great Bronze Age of China, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980, New York, Catalogue, no. 93
Hereâs the problem though; this is Not a depiction of a rhinoceros! (I studied economics in college soâŚ.). For one thing, Iâve looked at hundreds if not more than a thousand photographs and depictions of rhinoceri and youâll not find a single one of them who has horns that point forward. All rhinoceros horns curve backwards.
Small detail, I know but if you look closely at and compare this depiction with that of the rhinoceros youâll begin to see the differences. For instance, this creature has a beak! No self respecting rhino would sport a “beak” because rhinos do not have âbeaksâ. Additionally, this rhino has a horn that projects straight up out of the top of his skull. That would appear to be a rhino no no.
There are other differences; the rhino has a sway back, this creatureâs back is convex, etc. etc. Did you notice that he’s not wearing the little rhino coat that rhinos seem to wear where there legs seems to be poking out of the short sleeves?
Is there an ancient, perhaps extinct creature with perhaps the size of a rhino, (or larger) horned but with a âbeakâ? (I may have tipped my hand with the adjacent photo).
Well, the ceratopsia certainly had beaks and ceratopsia does mean âhorned faceâ. After studying members of the ceratopsian family it appears that the comparison with this artifact is pretty solid but; there is one thing missing; the neck frill.
Most if not all known ceratopsian dinosaurs were supposed to have a neck frill although there are some differences among scientists as too how the neck frill appeared.
Also, I can find no photo of the object that shows the tail; only the statement that it curves off to the left. But can a rhino tail do anything but hang? Seeing the tail would answer some questions perhaps because a ceratopsian like tail would certainly rule out the rhino while a rhino like tail would create more questions.
Could this be a yet undiscovered version of a ceratopsian dinosaur without the neck frill? I am put in mind of the Emela-ntouka.
(Although it could also be perspective. The outline of the frill along with the convincing detail of the ceratopsian ‘cheek” may be in evidence).
“The Emela-ntouka is an African legendary creature in the mythology of the Pygmy tribes, and a cryptid purported to live in Central Africa. Its name means “killer of the elephants” in the Lingala language.
In other languages it is known as the Aseka-moke, Njago-gunda, Ngamba-namae, Chipekwe or Irizima. The Emela-ntouka is claimed to be around the size of an African Bush Elephant, brownish to gray in color, with a heavy tail, and with a body of similar shape and appearance to a rhinoceros, including one long horn on its snout. Keeping its massive bulky body above ground level supposedly requires four short, stump-like legs.
It is described as having no frills or ridges along the neck. The animal is alleged to be semi-aquatic and feed on Malombo and other leafy plants. The Emela-ntouka is claimed to utter a vocalization, described as a snort, rumble or growlâŚ.Wikipedia
For more information on Emela-ntouka here is a story on Cryptomundo
Here is another aspect of this mystery; Chinese unicorns.
I was researching ancient Chinese rhinos and discovered that somehow there had come to be a conflagration of the rhino and the unicorn; the combo is known today as the “rhinoceros unicorn”. The ancient Chinese unicorn has a frame around its head that somewhat reminds one of the ceratopsian neck frill.
One Chinese site (Chinese-Unicorn.coms) sets out to prove in what would be our 4th cryptozoological mystery that the supposed 50,000 years extinct Elasmotherium is the actual creature being depicted as the ancient Chinese unicorn. Since monokeros is the Greek word meaning âone hornâ from which the word unicorn comes to us, the elasmotherium is accurately described as a unicorn whether or not it was the âunicornâ.
Elasmotherium (“Thin Plate Beast”) is an extinct genus of giant rhinoceros endemic to Eurasia during the Late Pliocene through the Pleistocene, documented from 2.6 Ma to as late as 50,000 years ago, possibly later, in the Late Pleistocene, an approximate span of slightly less than 2.6 million years. Three species are recognised. The best known, E. sibiricum was the size of a mammoth and is thought to have borne a large, thick horn on its forehead which was used for defense, attracting mates, driving away competitors, sweeping snow from the grass in winter and digging for water and plant rootsââŚ.Wikipedia
What is the being depicted in the object that sold at Christieâs auction in 2007 for $216K? A mythical creature? A ceratopsian? Emela-ntouka?
What it is is a genuine crptozoological mystery.
What it ainât is a rhinoceros.
20th Century Pterosaur Displaying Previously Unknown Morphological Features That Might Have Been
Iola Register, September 25, 1896
CAUGHT IN FLORIDA. MARKET REPORTS.
Marine Monster Tbat Is Part Fish Part
Bird Part Animal.
“Sea serpents are becoming too common, and when Florida people decided to produce a marine monster the serpent family was ignored and the Diabolus Maris was produced.
The picture which is presented was made from a drawing sent to the Kansas City Journal by Capt. George Bier, of the United States Navy.
The animal was caught off the coast of Florida, at Malanzas inlet, in 72 feet of water. It was caught on a hook and line, and when dragged aboard the boat was full of fight.
In order to preserve the strange monster it was found necessary to kill it, for it was so vicious that it could not be handled.
This remarkable relic of the antediluvian monster seemed to be part bird, part fish and part animal.
Capt. Bier described it as follows:
âIt has no scales, although it can swim. A portion of its body is covered with hair and when it wants to fly it inflates two windbags behind its wings. This Inflation is through its gills, which are situated on its breast. It stands upright upon its feet, which are shaped like hoofs. Its face and body are more human like than anything else and its mouth is like that of a raccoon, garnished with two rows of teeth. It stood about 20 inches high and strutted like a rooster.”
Above and below the creature compared to a “modern” pteosaur depiction and below to an antique African pterosaur depiction.
After its capture the monster was christened DIABOLUS MARIS, and was transferred to Tampa. Fla. where it has since been on exhibition. Naturalists who have seen it can find no other name for it, and itâs like has never been seen before.
Some fish have fins that resemble wings, and can be used for flying, but fish do not wear hair.
The presence of legs prove that it is not a fish, and its ability to live under water and the gills
prove that it is not a bird.”…End of article
Question? If pterosaurs had an air bladder on their backs that could be filled with air to assist them in flight would we be able to determine this from fossils?
Would an air bladder help to explain how such large creatures could get off the ground? Paleontologists are so confused by the subject that they recently released to widely separated âstudiesâ reported heavily in the media that reached two opposite conclusions; pterosaurs could not fly and alternatively they were the best flyers ever. (Couldn’t Fly-Mar 2009
Could Fly 10,000 Miles-Oct 2010)
Did we know that pterosaurs had âhairâ or that they may have been able to breathe under water? That they had gills?
âThe pterosaurs seem to have been able to fly soon after birth ( as possibly were some ancestral birds which means that during this prodigious growth their aerodynamics had to be functional at all times. In contrast, modern birds are born flightless and only begin to fly at nearly adult size.â .BBC Science
It makes more sense that God created pterosaurs with the ability to fly utilizing wings and air bladders than to believe that mutation and survival of the fittest created winged flightless creatures, eh Paleontologists?