The interpretation of ancient rock paintings of Utah’s Black Dragon Canyon should finally be put to rest. But it won’t be.
Now, using cutting-edge technology, researchers suggest the red paintings show five separate images, including a tall bug-eyed person, a smaller person, a sheep, a dog and a serpentlike figure.
“It is not a single figure. It is not a pterodactyl,” said co-lead researcher Paul Bahn, a freelance archaeologist. “It’s a beautiful set of images.”
Creationists and researches have been debating the rock paintings for years and the theories have ranged from being depictions of humans and animals to some winged monster or pterosaur.
The rock paintings are from the agrarian Fremont culture which lived in the area up until the 1100s.
The chalking of the image (tracing it with chalk, which is now illegal) added to the interpretation that it was a depiction of a now-extinct flying reptile. Creationists who are eager to discredit the concept of evolution, were adamant that this was clear evidence that such creatures lived not over 65 million years ago, but during the time of humans to make drawings of them. But that’s nonsense. As the scientists note, even faced with the new evidence, Creation-minded folks won’t budge. They will simply look to cite other anomalies to support their allegations. And, they ignore scientific evidence that clearly shows their young earth ideas as erroneous.
“What was supposed to be one wing of this pterodactyl is actually two little four-legged animals. The so-called head and beak and neck of the pterodactyl [are] actually a human figure with its spindly legs and its two arms stretching out.”
A pterodactyl is a particular type of pterosaur. Pterosaurs are the name of the Order of animals. Pterodacylus is a specific genus within Pterosauria. So, it’s typically more correct to use the overarching term “pterosaurs” when referring to generalized winged reptiles that lived at the time of dinosaurs. They were NOT dinosaurs but they were, arguably, the coolest animals that ever lived.
The Black Dragon Canyon is named after this interesting pictograph. So perhaps the title of the paper should have been death of a black dragon? It’s pretty common for people with fringe ideas to interpret ancient art in a mystical vein. Other pictograms in the area are said to show “spacemen”. Other ancient art is interpreted as dinosaurs. But artistic depictions of animals should NOT be taken literally. These artists were not journalists.
This is a opportunity to share my new post on the illusion of facticity in cryptozoology. I’ve also written on the fallacy of claiming that prehistoric animals still exist today.