One very exciting area of cryptozoology is that of apparent dinosaurs which have somehow survived up right up to the present day. What could be more fantastic than having real dinosaurs still prowling the wild places of the world, as they did millions of years ago? Such mysterious creatures can be found in many reports from the deepest darkest jungles of Africa to the rainforests of South America, yet one does not necessarily have to go so far away to such isolated, inaccessible spots to find accounts of supposed living dinosaurs in the modern age. In the southwestern United States, especially the rural, Four Corners region comprised of the southwestern corner of Colorado, southeastern corner of Utah, northeastern corner of Arizona, and northwestern corner of New Mexico, there have long been reports of dinosaurian beasts roaming about the badlands here, apparently very much alive and well.
Tales of dinosaurs in the American southwest go back to the frontier Wild West days of cowboys and Indians. Among some of the most talked about and famous of the dinosaurs of the West are the various large, pterodactyl-type creatures said to have been sighted throughout the 1800s and beyond, and which were already known to the Native peoples of the region as “Thunderbirds.” One such account was reported from the town of Tombstone, Arizona, a historic boomtown most famous for its Gunfight Behind the O.K. Corral in 1881, and is pretty much everything one imagines when thinking of a dusty old west town out of a Western flick.
Besides gunfights, cowboys, saloons, and a once thriving silver industry, the town was also the location for one of the stranger and oft discussed accounts of cryptozoology. The Tombstone Epitaph on April 26, 1890 included a case of a rather curious encounter. The article details the fantastic account of some sort of huge, winged creature which was found by two ranchers in the desert region between the Whetstone and Huachuca mountains. The monstrous thing was said to look somewhat like an alligator with an elongated tail and a set of massive, bat-like wings. When it was found, the creature was allegedly exhausted, and only capable of short bursts of flight.