Tuesday, 7 July 2009


Wearing my 'Operation Congo 1985' Fortean Times mokele-mbembe t-shirt with pride (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Over the years, there have been a number of so-called 'living dinosaur' reports filed from the USA, describing a mystery reptile seen running erect on its hind legs and likened by its startled eyewitnesses to a small bipedal dinosaur. I pesonally consider it likely that these sightings are based upon encounters with escapee monitor lizards (varanids), which can indeed run for short bursts on their hind legs.

However, this very morning I received a letter from a longstanding colleague of mine, English zoologist Prof. John L. Cloudsley-Thompson, that contains a very different, and hitherto-unreported, American mystery dinosaur report:

"During 1969, I was a National Science Foundation Senior Research Fellow at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, U.S.A. One evening, my wife Anne and I were invited to dinner by an anthropologist we knew. He told us how the driver of the school bus was driving to collect the children when he saw a large animal step over the fence at the side of the road. Some weeks later, he saw our friend's children with a dinosaur book. He claimed he had never seen a picture of a dinosaur before and the animal he had seen was exactly like the picture of Diplodocus. So our friend advised him to keep a camera in the bus. He saw the animal once again, but he had forgotten the camera!"

Apart from the extraordinary thought that there could be anyone out there in the States who had reached adulthood without ever having seen the image of a dinosaur before, this is a very intriguing account, to say the least!

If you can shed any light on it, or know of similar reports of American long-necked quadruped dinosaur-lookalikes - veritable mokele-mbembes in miniature! - I'd love to hear from you!

Me holding a mokele-mbembe-type model (© Dr Karl Shuker)


  1. Whilst I too find it hard to believe that anyone born in the 20th century could reach adulthood without seeing a picture of a sauropod, I know people do! I shake my head in disappointment but some people just aren't remotely interested in such things.

    A dinosaur on a road well traveled enough for a school bus is seen twice by the same person but, so far, there are no other reports? Hmm... that gives me reason to be a bit more incredulous.

  2. So that would be a diplodocus, one of the largest dinosaurs known, trolling round modern-day New Mexico.Doubtless picking it's way through all the crashed UFO wreckage and tiptoeing past the Air Force/alien bases.Hmmmm....
    Can't help wondering whether the driver took the long way round going back with the schoolkids.

  3. lol! You forgot to mention how it visited Elvis in his hideaway cave too! Of course, the animal allegedly seen by the driver surely reminded him of a Diplodocus only in shape, not in size. But I take the point made by both of you that it's all very unlikely - though this can be said for much of cryptozoology. However, it was an unusual, hitherto-undocumented report, so I thought it worth recording here, just in case it proved not to be unique. All the best, Karl