Monday, February 16, 2009

A gold figurine from Ashanti Province in Ghana, West Africa, and now located at the University of Pennsylvania Museum seems to depict a sauropod dinosaur. It was made as a trademark representing a particular family of gold dealers and resembles an Apatosaurus (bulky body, four legs, long tail), except for a relatively large head that looks more like a Tyrannosaurus. Some researchers see it as a representation of the Mokele-Mbembe. Margaret Plass, African Miniatures: The Goldweights of the Ashanti (London: Lund Humphries, 1967); “An Iguanodon from Dahomey,” Pursuit, no. 9 (January 1970): 15–16; Bernard Heuvelmans, Les derniers dragons d’Afrique (Paris: Plon, 1978), pp. 336–337.

In October and November 1924, an expedition led by archaeologist Samuel Hubbard and paleontologist Charles W. Gilmore explored the Havasu Canyon area on the Havasupai Indian Reservation west of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. Near where the Tobocobe Trail intersects Lee Canyon, they discovered pictographs on the red sandstone along the trail, one of which seems to show a bipedal ornithopod dinosaur. Oakland Museum, Discoveries Relating to Prehistoric Man by the Doheny Scientific Expedition in the Hava Supai Canyon, Northern Arizona (San Francisco, Calif.: Sunset Press, 1927); A. Hyatt Verrill, Strange Prehistoric Animals and Their Stories (Boston: L. C. Page, 1948).

In July 1944, German merchant Waldemar Julsrud discovered a cache of clay and stone figurines depicting dinosaurs, weird animals, humans, masks, and vessels on El Toro hill near Ac├ímbaro, Guanajuato State, Mexico. By the mid-1950s, he had found some 33,500 separate objects, which filled his twelve-room mansion and, it is said, forced him to sleep in the bathtub. The collection is no longer open to the public, and it is suspected that only a fraction of the original number of objects exist now. Though apparently seven distinct artistic styles are represented in the collection, none are typical of artifacts found elsewhere in Mesoamerica. Most, if not all, of the dinosaur-like figures are fanciful or composite animals, though some have seen resemblances to the sauropod Brachiosaurus, the ornithopod Iguanodon, and an Ankylosaurus. Other figures resemble such extinct Pleistocene fauna as Camelop s. Radiocarbon dates for the artifacts range from 4530–1110 b.c., though in some cases, laboratories have retracted these findings upon learning of their controversial nature, referring to suspected contamination or even “regenerated light signals.” William N. Russell, “Did Man Tame the Dinosaur?” Fate 5 (February-March 1952): 20–27; Charles C. Di Peso, “The Clay Figurines of Acambaro, Guanajuato, Mexico,” American Antiquity 18 (1953): 388–389; William N. Russell, “Report on Acambaro,” Fate 6 (June 1953): 31–35; Ronald J. Willis, “The Acambaro Figurines,” INFO Journal, no. 6 (Spring 1970): 2–17; “The Julsrud Ceramic Collection in Acambaro, Mexico,” Pursuit, no. 22 (April 1973): 41–43; Charles H. Hapgood, Mystery in Acambaro (Winchester, N.H.: Charles H. Hapgood, 1973; Kempton, Ill.: Adventures Unlimited, 2000); Dennis Swift, Dinosaurs of Acambaro, http://www.omniology. com/3-Ceramic-Dinos.html.

In 1966, Peruvian physician Javier Cabrera obtained a rock on which was a picture of a fish, seemingly carved thousands of years ago. He found where it came from and eventually amassed a collection of thousands of volcanic rocks with pictures of dinosaurs, kangaroos, mastodons, winged humanoids, telescopes, open-heart surgery, and other fantastic images. Now housed in his Museo de Piedras Grabadas in Ocucaje, near Ica, Peru, Cabrera claims they were made 1 million– 250,000 years ago by an unknown culture. Others have accused Cabrera of producing the stones himself or at least turning a blind eye to local forgers. Ryan Drum, “The Cabrera Rocks,” INFO Journal, no. 17 (May 1976): 6–11; Javier Cabrera Darquea, El mensaje de las piedras grabadas de Ica (Lima, Peru: INTI-Sol, 1976); David Hatcher Childress, Lost Cities and Ancient Mysteries of South America (Stelle, Ill.: Adventures Unlimited, 1986), pp. 29–31, 48–52; Michael D. Swords, “The Cabrera Rocks Revisited,” INFO Journal, no. 48 (March 1986): 11–13; Robert Todd Carroll, “Ica Stones,” in Skeptic’s Dictionary, http://skepdic.com/icastones.html.


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