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Dinosaurs In Literature, History and Art:
Dinosaurs In Literature, History and Art: Pterosaurs Have Not Been Extinct for 65,000,000 Years Not for 65,000 Years, Not for 6,500 Years, Not for 650 Years. Not for….. ........Page 79

by Chris Parker, Copy Right 2008

Aurora Defeating the Dragon, Aurora Consurgens, Published 1420.

An almost cursory glance at the literature of our ancestors should disabuse those interested (including paleontologists) that pterosaurs have been extinct at the very least through the medieval period. Pterosaurs as dragons should have been an obvious area of research for anyone who was actually interested in the truth.

Pterosaurs are flying creatures that have unique characteristics which should be readily identifiable in ancient literature. They are reptilian, serpentine, and have two legs with five toes.

They have bat-like wings and two “hands”which are attached to a long finger/arm under their wings. The long tailed versions (birds don’t have long serpentine tails) also sometimes feature a "vane" at the end which aided in aerodynamics (so it it is believed.

Science would not expect to encounter clearly identifiable representations of the pterosaur in ancient history because paleontologists state that the last individuals died out at least 65,000,000 years ago. So how do they react when a representation turns up which could not be anything else?

Mostly, they ignore it.

Meanwhile, the reality of their existence was so ingrained in Medieval culture that their activity was obliquely described in a newspaper weather report from that era:

"In the end of November and beginning of December last, many of the country people observed dragons (probably Pterosaurs) appearing in the north and flying rapidly towards the east; from which they concluded, and their conjectures were right, that...boisterous weather would follow" ....1793 European Newspaper comment on the Weather"...


History of discovery

Meyer's/Meier's sketch of a actual dragon/pterosaur skeleton in 1691 along with Roman coin.

The first pterosaur fossil was described by the Italian naturalist Cosimo Collini in 1784. Collini misinterpreted his specimen as a sea-going creature that used its long front limbs as paddles. A few scientists continued to support the aquatic interpretation even until 1830, when the German zoologist Johann Georg Wagler suggested that Pterodactylus used its wings as flippers.

Georges Cuvier first suggested that pterosaurs were flying creatures in 1801, and coined the name "Ptero-dactyle" 1809 for a specimen recovered in Germany; however, due to the standardization of scientific names, the official name for this species became Pterodactylus, though the name "pterodactyl" continued to be popularly applied to all members of this first specimen's order.

Since the first pterosaur fossil was discovered in the Late Jurassic Solnhofen limestone in 1784, twenty-nine kinds of pterosaurs have been found in those deposits alone. A famous early UK find was an example of Dimorphodon by Mary Anning, at Lyme Regis in 1828". ….Wikipedia

In approximately the year, 1420, more than 350 years before the first pterosaur fossil was “discovered” and close to 400 years before Cuvier first suggested that they were flying creatures rather than aquatic ones, Aurora Consurgens, an illustrated “manuscript” was published containing clear representations of a pterosaur and several dinosaurs.

1)Meyer’s “scientific” sketch of the “S” in 1691. 2)This is the dragon “defeated” by Aurora in Aurora consurgens, 1420. 3)The dragon/pterosaur “S” representing Ethiopia on the Genoese World Map circa 1457. Note that these are all similar drawings, spanning two hundred years showing Scaphognathus crassirostris, with its long tail and split head crest.


“The Aurora Consurgens is an illuminated manuscript of the 15th century in the Zurich Zentralbibliothek (MS. Rhenoviensis 172). It contains a medieval alchemical treatise, in the past sometimes attributed to Thomas Aquinas, now to a writer called the "Pseudo-Aquinas". Unusually for a work of this type, the manuscript contains thirty-eight fine miniatures in watercolour.”..Wikipedia

“Dragons” were often associated with the devil and thus were often featured in books or literature depicting black arts, alchemy or the like. In “Aurora Defeating the Dragon” (above) we have a clear representation of a pterosaur, specifically a Scaphognathus crassirostris, the only known long tailed species with a head crest. The shaped of this particular head crest has been oft repeated in dragon/pterosaur representations down through history.

We will show a few of them here. This dragon is drawn as a real, creature which can be captured and tied up, with two feet and two arm/wings. The unique head crest is evident.

John Goertzen, who had written several articles on this topic, wrote thusly about the easily identifiable Scaphognathus crassirostris and its head crest;

“In the middle ages the same word, basilisk, was used in Latin (basilic) for a flying reptile with a head crest. It could be that the Greek word basilisk indicated the 'King of the serpents' and had a 'crown' (or head crest) like a basileu" (the Greek word for King).

The outstanding naturalist, Prosper Alpin (c. 1600), explicitly tells of the basilic being a flying serpent with a head crest being an animal living in Ethiopia that he heard an accurate description of but didn't see. The description closely matches the Scaphognathus crassirostris species.

The length, like a palm frond, is about right. The tail vane is described, proving it had to be the Rhamphorhynchoidea (long-tailed) sub-order. Also a head crest is specified. The Scaphognathus was the only long-tailed pterosaur with a head crest known from the fossil record.

Martin Luther may have been familiar with the Scaphognathus since he talked about the tongues at Pentecost being divided like the shape of the crest of the flying serpents. Modern science has preserved the tradition of the basilic by naming a lizard species with a head crest by that name.

Two fossil specimens are currently known; the first described in 1831 by the German professor August Goldfuss The second is a juvenile and is intact, including the long tail that was missing from the first fossil.

The S. is easily identified since it is the only long tailed pterosaur with a head crest. Both fossils, currently known, were found in the Solnhofen limestone in southern Germany and display a skeletal head crest. Because the S. is the only rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur with a head crest, ancient artifacts enable us to tell what the soft tissue of the head crest looked like and identify ancient S. representations with a high degree of confidence.”

“The remarkable thing about this animal is that it was depicted in several cultures of antiquity. Artifacts identified with this interesting pterosaur species include Roman-Alexandrian coins, an Arabia-Philistia coin, a French wood carving, a German statue and coin, several Middle Ages picture maps, and an enlightening sketch of a mounted animal in Rome by the scientists Meier”… The Rhamphorhynchoid Pterosaur, Scaphognathus crassirostris: A "Living Fossil" Until the 17th Century.

Cover of Hœllischer Morpheus: Saducismus Triumphatus


In 1704, eighty years before the first fossil pterosaurs were discovered by science and ninety five years before Cuvier first suggested that they might be flying creatures, (the idea that they were aquatic would persist for thirty more years.) Hœllischer Morpheus was published whose theme was the grotesque. Now doubt because the Bible referred to Satan as “that old dragon”, dragons were among the creatures often encountered in such works.

Within this volume are drawings which clearly depict the pterosaur and portray features which were not “mythical” or from the imagination as one would suppose, but which were actual morphological features of certain species of the pterosaur.

Saducismus Triumphatus' front cover pterosaur compared to modern interpretations of the "S", long tailed pterosaurs.


On the frontispiece of the work is a clear depiction of a long tailed pterosaur represented with two feet and wing arms. A comparison of this creature with modern drawings of pterosaurs is presented below.

About the Book:
ID F005-001
Title [Hœllischer Morpheus, Saducismus Triumphatus]
Medium drawing
Book Petri Holdschmids; Joseph Glanvil. Hœllischer Morpheus; Saducismus Triumphatus. Hamburg : Berlegts Gottfried Liebernictel, 1704.
Notes Original ink drawing on the end sheet of this work from the witchcraft collection.. grotesque
Theme The Grotesque
Subjects occult, black arts

According to Wikipedia a famous early UK find was an example of Dimorphodon by Mary Anning, at Lyme Regis in 1828.

Coincidentally, perhaps, another pterosaur/dragon depiction in the same book is a close representation of Dimorphodon. Clearly, some species of pterosaur survived at the very least until the 17th century and thus have not been extinct for 65,000,000 years.

Hœllischer Morpheus, Saducismus Triumphatus. Illustration and comparison of flying creature with Dimorphodon.


Left; Pterosaur depictions from Hœllischer Morpheus, Saducismus Triumphatus,1704. Scaphognathus features on flying creatures include,long tail, tail vanes and head crests. Middle; Pterosaur depiction from Luristan, 600 B.C.. Right; 17th century tract shows long tailed pterosaurs high in the sky with witch involvement .


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