Flying dino?

WIKIPEDIA COMMONS German artist Heinrich Harder’s painting of a pterodactyl.

WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
German artist Heinrich Harder’s painting of a pterodactyl.

By KENDRA EVENSEN
kevensen@journalnet.com

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a pterodactyl?

Seeing a believed-to-be-extinct reptile flying over Boise may seem as unlikely as spotting Superman shooting through the sky, but at least some wonder if that’s what an individual may have captured on a YouTube video that’s gone viral.

“Am I the only one who secretly wishes this was real?” one person commented on the video.

Both The Inquisitr and Great Britain’s Daily Mail have written stories about the video that shows the pterodactyl-like creature flying through the sky, slowly flapping its wings and even dipping its head down at one point.

Dr. Leif Tapanila, a paleontologist and director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History, isn’t surprised that the film has captured attention.

“Everyone loves monsters, and a giant flying reptile sure would be cool to see for real. ‘Jurassic World’ was a massive success because people are excited to imagine how we might interact with these amazing beasts,” he said.

Still, he was far from convinced by the film.

“This video made me laugh out loud,” he said.

Tapanila noted that it’s easy for anyone with basic skills and a computer to combine blurry images and make such a film.

“The Internet is full of outlandish videos,” he stated.

Others who have watched the YouTube video believe the creature could be a drone or toy. There’s also a chance it could be some other kind of animal. For instance, the African shoebill is a large, prehistoric-looking bird with a slow wing flap. Of course, they aren’t typically found in Boise.

Tapanila doesn’t believe there’s any chance the creature in the film was a pterodactyl.

“The flying reptiles (pterosaurs) … disappeared over 65 million years ago, with zero evidence of them existing since that time,” he said.

Although many seem to agree, not everyone does. The Inquisitr quoted one commenter named Kevin Thompson.

“Referencing the Coelacanth and the Yeti Crab, he reminded people that extinct species are discovered all the time,” The Inquisitr reported.

Still, Tapanila remains skeptical.

“I’m a big fan of computer graphics and fantasy movies about monsters and dinosaurs,” he said. “If a video looks too good to be true, it is.”

The video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YreRe_vkTp4