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Friday, May 07, 2010

LINDSAY SELBY: Raptors in Chile?

There have been reports of possible raptor creatures coming out of the Arica area of Chile. In 2004, the Abett de la Torre Diaz family described how four “dog faced kangaroo like” creatures surrounded their car as they travelled home. Carmen Diaz described how one of the creatures stared at them while they were seated in their car.

She drew the footprints of the creatures from memory and it showed a three-toed foot with claws on the tips of the toes. Retired officer Hernan Cuevas is adamant that he and his family saw some dinosaur-like creatures approaching their car while driving in the desert. He claims that there are many places in the Atacama where such animals can live hiding away from human eyes. Other people have also reported sightings.

Other motorists have also reported coming into contact with a creature that looks a raptor, with thick leathery skin, three-toed feet, an upright stance and razor-sharp teeth.

Sounds like a creature from Jurassic park but there may be an explanation.

By Mauricio Silva
El Mercurio (Santiago de Chile)
August 5, 2004
Amazement spreads over accounts from drivers claiming to have encountered strange beings like Jurassic Park animals.
ARICA -- The alleged dinosaurs allegedly seen in the desert by some drivers and their passengers, whose stories have caused certain expectation in the city, would have been no more than simple and peaceful ostriches. Claims of strange, enormous creatures galloping across the Pampa come from drivers who were making their way at night on the road linking Arica with Iquique. The local press has broadcast these stories profusely, causing both wonderment and some incredulous smiles. Ricardo Arancibia, a breeder of these African flightless birds, located in the vicinity of the alleged sightings, has 12 specimens on Lot 53 of Acha, very near the road and area where the apparitions occurred. It is believed that some 200 ostriches exist in the Pampa today, distributed in scattered pens in northern communities such as Acha, Chaca and Lluta. Concerned by these accounts, Arancibia contacted the media to offer background information that could bring an end to the mystery and turn what threatened to become a new modern myth, like the so-called Chupacabras or UFOs, into a harmless episode. He acknowledged that the birds can escape from their pens and give the wrong impression, especially if seen at night. A total of 11 people claim having seen alleged dinosaurs in two separate incidents--last Thursday and two weeks ago--both at night. The descriptions agree that the apparitions were dog-headed birds, standing nearly 2 meters tall with long legs, developed thighs and small, inverted upper extremities. It is said that they moved swiftly with wide strides. Municipal Veterinarian Alfrodin Turra ratified that said characteristics coincide with those of ostriches. But Dario Riquelme,44, a fiberglass contractor who has been driving the same road for 10 years and made the first sighting, rejects this explanation. "I know what ostriches look like and there's no deal. [It] crouched in front of my pickup truck, I saw it clearly. They were just like the ones from Jurassic Park."
Translation (c) 2004. Scott Corrales, IHU.
Special thanks to Liliana NÒez.

So people who have seen them reject the big bird explanation. It is, however, easy to be fooled at night in the light of car headlights. Raptors and large birds are very alike in the way they move, so what do you think, escaped ostrich or raptor?

There have also been stories of UFOs in the area: http://ww.ufologie.net/htm/2001apr.htm
As I have mentioned before, when one unknown thing appears, others do too. Strange isn’t it?


Dale Drinnon said...

The Rhea (not ostrich) explanation sounds like it is forced at first but it is undoubtedly correct in most cases.

At the same time, there are the long-tailed spiky-backed biped-lizard reports in South America the same as in North America and often called "Chupacabras" by the press. They would undoubtedly be large iguanid lizards, but the rumours I have heard are not detailed enough to say whether they are the same species seen in North America and called "Mini-Rex" or "Mountain Boomers". The South American ones might be larger or reports might be exaggerated. Northern Argentina would seem to be one centre for such rumours.

Dale Drinnon said...

Rheas are three-toed, ostriches have two toes. Rheas are native to South America.

"Raptor" in ordinary usage means one of the large birds-of-prey. The Jurassic Park usage for "Raptor" is nonstandard and is actually a slang usage. "T-rex" is likewise nonstandard and a slangy reference. Neither "Raptor" nor "T-rex" actually refers ONLY to the one type of creature in question, they are ambiguous references.

Yosaphat Agni said...

Second possible theory:A Phorusrhacos, extinct predatory flightless bird,looks like an Ostrich.