Two pterosaur sightings in Los Angeles, in 2013, have caused a stir, being ten weeks apart and the second one being just a mile and a half south of the first one. Both eyewitnesses are young adult females, and both passed a brief credibility check; misidentifications also appear unlikely. Let’s consider what the eyewitnesses say, in their own words.
March 3, 2013, Sighting
This morning at about 6 a.m. I saw three “dragons” flying over the 5-North freeway between Griffith Park and Glendale. . . . with a head-body-tail ratio that was certainly not that of a bird. Their wings were long, angular and pointed and their tails had triangular points. They appeared light in color—white, gray or light green. . . .
. . . flying straight at me, opposite the flow of traffic, along
the freeway. [cars going north; three flying creatures, south] . . .
. . . They each had a distinct neck between body and head, that was more narrow and clearly visible. . . . [Tails were] long and thin with a bigger point at the tip.
May 13, 2013, Sighting
I’m almost positive what I saw fly over the freeway in Los Angeles WAS NOT a bird of any kind. . . . I was [shocked] by the head crest and the wings. . . .
Yesterday, so the 13th of May 2013. Around 4 p.m. Someone else had to see. There was traffic and we were all going about 30 mph. It flew right over us . . .
. . . I have never read about living pterosaurs nor have I heard of any others reporting of their sightings. . . .
. . . I did see its head crest and the . . . charcoal gray/teal undertone skin. No feathers, and the wings were pointed and never flapped. It glided through the air with its wings in an arched position. . . . I feel like I could not have been the only one to see [it] that day.
Los Angeles River near the Colorado Street Bridge, east of Griffith Park
May 13, 2013, Sighting of a “Pterosaur”
1. Flying northeast at about 4:00 p.m.
2. Eyewitness was “almost positive” it was not a bird
3. No wing flaps
4. Did not notice if it had a tail or not
5. Observed in full daylight
6. Presence or absence of feathers: “No feathers”
7. Was there a head crest? A: “I did see its head crest” [yes]
8. Alone in the car, driving northbound
9. Credibility verified by Whitcomb, but limited
The most recent sighting had been just fifteen days earlier, between Griffith Park and Glendale. Not one of those sightings was very far from a storm channel or stream bed.
How can living Rhamphorhynchoid (“basal”) pterosaurs fly in California, in modern times? In the United States, we have been taught since early childhood that all such creatures became extinct many millions of years ago. Rather than delve into speculations about fossils, let’s now consider eyewitness testimonies.
Nonfiction: Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition
From Chapter Two: California Sightings
When I returned from Papua New Guinea, in 2004, I knew almost nothing about reports of apparent pterosaurs, or “dragons,” in California. I was convinced of the reality of long-tailed ropens of the southwest Pacific, but assumed they live there because of the vast tropical wildernesses, providing them warmth, food, and seclusion. I also assumed that the few reports that I had read—apparent pterosaurs in some of the 48 States—were of a few stragglers from Central America. But after publishing many web pages about living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea, I received emails and phone calls from eyewitnesses: sightings in California, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland-Virginia border, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Washington State. I became a believer in American pterosaurs.