Dr KARL SHUKER

Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. Author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), and more recently Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), and Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), his many fans have been badgering him to join the blogosphere for years. The CFZ Blog Network is proud to have finally persuaded him to do so.

Dr Karl Shuker's Official Website - http://www.karlshuker.com

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Sunday, 8 November 2015

SHOOTING DOWN A PTERODACTYLIAN THUNDERBIRD – OR AT LEAST A SUPPOSED PHOTOGRAPH OF ONE!


Sourced at last – this oft-posted online photograph of a supposed pterodactylian thunderbird shot by hunters (© Chris Smith, all rights reserved by him; NB – this picture is reproduced here on a strictly Fair Use non-commercial educational basis only)

The missing thunderbird photograph is among the most famous of all cryptozoological mysteries, and one that I have already documented in detail on ShukerNature (click here). As a result of its fame, over the years it has inspired the creation of many hoax photos purporting to be the real thing, and also many non-hoax pastiches of it – but unfortunately, when such photos appear online and become widely circulated there, it is not always apparent which is which, especially as all too many websites post such photos with credulous claims that they depict real creatures, thereby blurring further an already nebulous situation.

One supposed thunderbird photograph that has been circulated on numerous sites is the very striking illustration opening this present ShukerNature blog article, and which has intrigued me for some time. Looking at the pterosaur in it, it was evident to me that it was a model of a Pteranodon (but based upon a fruit bat's wings instead of a pterosaur's, hence the difference in finger count) that had been added via some form of photo-manipulation process to a possibly genuine, vintage photograph of hunters, thereby creating the oft-described scene that the real missing thunderbird photo allegedly depicts (always assuming, of course, that such a photo itself ever existed!).

Tracing this pterodactylian thunderbird photo from one website to another, the earliest appearances that I've been able to find for it online are from 2012 – but tonight, following yet another online search, inspired by having been alerted by a correspondent to its appearance in the newly-published December 2015 issue of the monthly magazine True West, I finally discovered both its origin and its creator!

A model of Pteranodon in flight (© Dr Karl Shuker)

It turns out that the photo is not a hoax but rather an affectionate homage in pastiche form to the original missing thunderbird photograph, and once you know where to look online it is openly identified as having been created by highly-acclaimed digital illustration artist Chris Smith from Croydon in London, England, who has also created an equally wonderful digital image of a pair of mokele-mbembes encountered by some pygmies in the Congolese swamplands. Click here to view both of these excellent artworks, which were posted on the Vividvisuals website's blog by Chris on 15 April 2013, and where I discovered them tonight.

Also, an enlargement of his pterodactylian thunderbird photo can be viewed here on Chris's own Flickr page, which reveals that he created this spectacular image on 27 October 2010. I strongly recommend all fans of fantasy and science-fiction art to visit Chris's Flickr page (click here), because it contains some of the most spectacular digital artwork from these genres that I have ever seen, and even includes some awesome front-cover illustrations that he has prepared for Fortean Times.

Another cryptozoological case solved and closed!

Further details concerning thunderbirds and the missing thunderbird photograph will appear in the expanded, updated edition of my book In Search of Prehistoric Survivors…coming soon.





6 comments:

  1. I think the biggest giveaway on that first pic is the wings - clearly, noone looked up an actual photo of a pterosaur wing there..

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  2. Cool article Karl. I'm looking forward to the new In Search of Prehistoric Survivors!

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  3. There is also a photo that has been circulating for awhile of a cowboy holding a small so-called Colorado river dino that he apparently shot...

    http://s8int.com/eyewit4.html

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  4. Count me in as one who has, in days past, believed to have seen the photo. Always saw it with a giant, black bird, nailed to the side of barn, outstretched, with the cowboys (handle bar mustaches and all) in front. Then I would catch myself and realize that no, I have never seen such a photo. What a phenomenon.

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  5. Fake. Look at the bat wings. The head is of a pteranadon and their wings were not like that. Karl, I expect better from you than that.

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    1. What on earth are you talking about, Michael? OF COURSE IT'S A FAKE!! It's not a hoax, however, because its creator, Chris Smith, openly revealed that he created it and he has never pretended that it was real! And that's what I've stated very clearly in my article - so, evidently you haven't read it! Here is the paragraph that says it all: "It turns out that the photo is not a hoax but rather an affectionate homage in pastiche form to the original missing thunderbird photograph, and once you know where to look online it is openly identified as having been created by highly-acclaimed digital illustration artist Chris Smith from Croydon in London, England, who has also created an equally wonderful digital image of a pair of mokele-mbembes encountered by some pygmies in the Congolese swamplands. Click here to view both of these excellent artworks, which were posted on the Vividvisuals website's blog by Chris on 15 April 2013, and where I discovered them tonight." Please read my articles properly before criticising them next time, thank you.

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