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Pterodactyl in stone (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Pterodactyl in stone (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CB930.4:

Pterodactyls, extinct flying reptiles, supposedly existed around one hundred million years ago. According to an article in The Illustrated London News of February 9, 1856, page 166, workmen discovered a living pterodactyl. In the winter of 1856, they were working on a railway tunnel between St. Dizey and the Nancy lines, and they had broken and removed a boulder of Jurassic limestone, when the creature stumbled out of the tunnel toward them. It fluttered its wings, croaked, and collapsed dead at their feet. It had a wingspan of ten feet seven inches, four legs with talons for feet, legs joined by a membrane like a bat, a mouth filled with sharp teeth, and black, leathery, oily skin. An exact mold of the creature's body was found in the limestone from which the creature was released.


CreationWiki response:

It is agreed that this was a hoax. Talk Origins' claim about creationist gullibility is unjust however. As told above, the story does sound ridiculous, but there are details in the wording above that are not found in any of the cited sources.

  • The reference to its being found in Jurassic limestone is not a problem if the Pterodactyl had been in a cavern. It is quite possible that the Pterodactyl could have been trapped by a cave-in.
  • The reference to the cavity in the limestone's being in the shape of its body clinches it.

This is the detail that makes the story sound ridiculous, since that would not only require the Pterodactyl to have been buried when the rock was formed but with absolutely no air to breath. Since without this detail the story would be plausible, Talk Origins' charge of gullibility is unfounded.