Monday, February 16, 2009

Percy Fawcett

A few rumors of huge, amphibious beasts in South America are on record, but no local Indian names have surfaced.

In 1882, an odd, 40-foot saurian was killed on the Río Beni, El Beni Department, Bolivia. It was said to have two additional, doglike heads sprouting from its back, a long neck, and scaly armor. “A Bolivian Saurian,” Scientific American 49 (1883): 3.

The explorer Percy Fawcett mentioned dinosaur- like animals briefly on several occasions as occurring in the Río Guaporé area on the border of Bolivia and Brazil, in the Madidi region of La Paz Department in northwestern Bolivia, and in swamps around the Rio Acre in Acre State, Brazil. Percy H. Fawcett, Exploration Fawcett (London: Hutchinson, 1955).

In late 1907, Franz Herrmann Schmidt and Rudolph Pfleng allegedly encountered an aquatic, dinosaur-like monster, 35 feet long, in a swampy area in the forested swamps of Loreto Department, Peru. It had a tapirlike head “the size of a beer keg,” a snakelike neck, and heavy, clawed flippers. Their bullets seemed to have no effect on the animal. Franz Herrmann Schmidt, “Prehistoric Monsters in Jungles of the Amazon.” New York Herald, January 11, 1911.

In 1931, Swedish explorer Harald Westin saw a 20-foot lizard walking along the shore of the Rio Mamoré on the border of Brazil and Bolivia. It had an alligator-like head, four legs, and a body like a distended boa constrictor. Harald Westin, Tjugu års djungel- och tropikliv (Stockholm: Bonnier, 1933).

Leonard Clark heard rumors of an animal resembling a sauropod dinosaur from Peruvian Indians around the Río Marañón, Peru, in 1946. Leonard Clark, The Rivers Ran East (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1953).

In 1975, a Swiss businessman hired a seventy-five-year-old guide named Sebastian Bastos, who told him that the Amazonian Indians knew of animals 18 feet long that overturn canoes and kill humans. Bastos himself had survived an attack several years earlier. Liverpool Daily Post, January 3, 1976.


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