The Last Pterodactyl
An unimaginable discovery was made in the year 1856 by the men who worked for my great-grandfather’s railway tunneling crew in France. I can only relate to you what was passed down by him to my grandfather and then to my own father until I was old enough to understand the tale. I believe that the only proof of this event is documented in the London News but perhaps in those days that was all the proof one needed. French society in those days was not keen on fabricating stories, especially not hard working men. So I believe that this in fact did happen and will relate to you as many details that have survived generations to go along with the original newspaper article.
It was winter and the crew had been fighting the cold as they worked on cutting a tunnel somewhere on the line between St. Dizier and Nancy. It was difficult, dangerous work that often times resulted in accidents and death from natural hazards such as falling rocks, cave-ins, toxic gas, etc. But it was a different kind of environmental hazard experienced that cold, bitter morning. It began when two men managed to split open a large, ancient piece of Jurassic limestone. What followed next is the baffling truth handed down for over 150 years now.
In the dim-light seeping down the tunnel walls, the two men who cracked open the rock let out a loud wail in unison. Something was moving inside the cavity that they had created within the two pieces of rock; something large. My Great-Grandfather, the foreman, sprinted down the tunnel to see what had caused such alarm. He was expecting to find an accident and instead discovered a monster in the darkness. The creature, whatever it was, crawled out from its tomb, stretched out a pair of immense leathery wings that must have been nearly 11 feet wide, and let out its own terrible shriek.
The men were frozen in shock at the unexpected encounter, and were not able to react beyond muffled gasps. The beast collapsed under the weight of its own body and let out one final, long breath of air. My relative was the first who was brave enough to approach the now deceased creature. He lit a torch and began to examine what lay before him on the dirt of the tunnel. It had the wings of a bat, the feet of a lizard, and the beak and teeth of predatory bird. Its skin was dark black and had the constancy of leather, along with a glossy oily feel.
None of the men had ever seen anything like it, nor would they ever want to again. But the decision was made to load the body onto a cart and deliver it the nearby town of Gray. There, a local paleontology student was able to identify the corpse as that of a pterodactyl; a species of dinosaur that had been extinct for around one hundred million years. And yet, there lay before him, one that had just taken its final breath not an hour before arriving to his study.
After dropping off the creature, my Great-Grandfather returned to the tunnel to investigate the limestone that held the dinosaur. He noted that the cavity in which the creature had been held was just large enough for it to fit inside. The two halves were taken to a geologist who dated them to almost an exact match as when the mighty flying lizards ruled the skies.
It’s not known what happened to the body or the tomb in which it emerged from, but I truly believe that it was an oddity trapped in time and was truly unearthed. I’ve always wondered if there were more of them locked away deep in the mountains, just waiting for someone to inadvertently break them free once more. Perhaps someday I’ll venture to France and set out on an expedition of my own. If you see me flying on the back of a giant Pterosaur, don’t be alarmed.
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