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Gitmo Bird
Gitmo bird
Archaeopteryx model
Cuban pterosaur
Gitmo Pterosaur Eye-whiteness Sketch next to Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker
Background
Type Bird or Pterosaur
First Sighting 1965
Last Sighting 1990
Country Cuba
Habitat Southeastern End of Cuba
Possible Population Small

For decades, the Caribbean nation of Cuba was isolated from the United States for political reasons. This economic isolation helped preserve much of Cuba's coral reefs and forests. Mysterious creatures have been reported in the island's waters for centuries, however, it's skies and forests are rumored to have a strange looking bird like creature, either believed to be a surviving remnant of extinct pterosaurs, such as the Ropen, or the extinct Cuban ivory-billed woodpecker.

Cuban Bird Legend

Santeria is a syncretic religion that grew out of the slave trade in Cuba and it is greatly prevalent in Cuban culture. According to a pataki (a sacred story in the tradition), a warrior named Ochosi was given a special task by Eleguá, the gatekeeper, to hunt and trap a rare, mystical bird. Ochosi was an expert hunter and he found the bird without a problem. The Orishas (deities) were so impressed that he captured the rare bird that they made him an Orisha.

Pterosaur Sightings

Mysteriousuniverse.org describes various sightings of pterosaurs in Cuba, stating, "...Californian woman by the name of Patty Carson reported seeing something both inexplicable and frightening in the skies above Guantanamo Bay when she was a little girl living there at the naval base. In 1965, Carson was walking home one day with her little brother when they noticed something large rummaging through tall grass by the side of the road. She recounted how a featherless, winged creature that was as tall as a man and possessed a plenitude of small, needle-like teeth, as well as a long tail with a tip shaped like a diamond, suddenly popped its head and shoulders up over the top of

Hamipterus-ChuangZhao-male

the grass. She described it as a “flying dinosaur,” and said that it was very close, only about 30 feet away...In 1966, only a year after this incident, Patty’s brother Tom Carson would have another separate sighting of the same beast. This time, the boy, who was 10 years old at the time, saw the creature when he was by himself. Although he only glimpsed it for a few seconds, Tom remembered that it had a tail that resembled 'the shaved tail of a dog.'

Cuba double

Photo of a Cuban ivory-billed woodpecker taken by George Lamb in 1956.

At this point, one could be forgiven for questioning the reliability and veracity of these particular reports, but they becomes more intriguing when compared to another eyewitness account that occurred in the same area just a few years later in 1971. A U.S. marine by the name of Eskin Kuhn, who was stationed at the base

in 1971, reported seeing what he described as two 'pterodactyls' one day while taking a break outside of the barracks."

According to knowablenews.com, a lady who was on a cruise in the Caribbean saw two pterosaur like

Cuba-MMAP-md

creatures.

Cuban Ivory-Woodpecker Sightings

Other stories describe the creature as a surviving Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Believed to be extinct in the late 1980s, this bird's calls were still reported by locals until the late 1990s and there have been several confirmed sightings. Frontiersofzoology.blogspot.com suggests that the pterosaurs sighted by Carson and Kuhn could actually be the Cuban Ivory-Woodpecker, due to the bird's unusual crest and features. While it is possible that the woodpeckers could still live in the island, there has yet to be any conclusive evidence.

Sources

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