s8int.com: There are plenty of debunkers for the Fresno sighting presented right here in this article. In fact, the author largely discounts the possibility that actual pterosaurs were sighted. Pterosaurs are extinct. How do we know? Science says so and-no one has seen one. Except that any reported sightings are discounted and ridiculed.
One reason to credit the story is the description of the eyewitnesses. These sightings took place in 1891 and yet witnesses mentioned an alligator-like bill. To our knowledge, pterosaur species which could actually fit that description as well as the estimated wingspan (like the pterosaurs pictured on this page)have only recently been discovered (last 20 years) and would probably not have been the prototype for a faked pterosaur sighting.
BioFortean Review, (November 2006, No. 5)Â
Â Chad Arment
One of the strangest newspaper stories from the latter years of the nineteenth century came from California. It began in the summer of 1891. Several persons from Fresno County were reported to have seen a pair of large flying creatures that resembled pterosaurs (being featherless, with reptilian snouts and fifteen foot wingspans).Â
The details were first published in the Selma, California, Enterprise, to which I don’t currently have access, but it quickly spread to outlying newspapers. So, we can reconstruct the story from articles published by other newspapers.
First, the general details from corresponding newspapers: