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John Michell Mysteries


Archive for Thursday 7th November 2002 - Pterodactyls on the wing

If you study natural history you must be ready for surprises. Nature does not always follow the ‘rules’ that we humans have drawn up.

A recent surprise was the appearance of a huge, unknown kind of bird over Alaska. It was seen from several places on the ground, and also by a pilot and his passengers in a light aeroplane. The creature’s wingspan, they reported, was 14 or 15 feet. It looked like a pterodactyl. John Bouker, the pilot, said that in his 22 years of local flying, he had never seen anything like it.

Pterodactyls are supposed to have been extinct for more than 100,000 years. The evidence from their fossil bones is that they were raptors with razor-sharp teeth, and flew or glided on large, leathery wings. A specimen from Texas, excavated in 1975, had a 51ft wingspan.

Is it possible that these monsters are still with us? Anything of that sort is possible, ever since the reappearance of the coelacanth. This ancient fish was supposed by evolutionists to be the missing link between sea and land creatures. It was also supposed to have died out 70 million years ago. But in 1938 a living coelacanth was caught off East Africa. Others turned up, and it is now well known to local fishermen.

Was it there all the time, or did the coelacanth somehow recover from extinction? That question applies also to the pterodactyl. In recent years, sightings of a mysterious great bird have been reported from allover the world. Next week I shall go further into these strange happenings.

John Michell

If you have a favourite mystery subject - from spontaneous human combustion to ancient Celtic ritual sites, write to John, suggesting a theme. And if you have any answers or theories about the mysteries John will be highlighting, he would particularly like to hear from you.

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John Michell is a prolific author. Below are just two of John's books which might interest you. We have arranged with our friends at The Daily Mirror for website visitors to order books mentioned on this site.

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Unexplained Phenomena, A Rough Guide Special
(co-author Bob Rickard, rrp £12.99) at the special Mirror Direct price of £9.99 + p&p.
Who Wrote Shakespeare?
(Thames & Hudson, rrp £8.95) for the Mirror Direct special price of £6.95 + p&p.
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