Carnivorous Flying Mammal?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 13th, 2009

Il mesure environ 80 cm et a été photographié en Argentine par un photographe amateur, Fabian Romano. L’homme a envoyé les photos prises au CEUFO (Centre Etude Ovnis) d’Argentine. Après plusieurs tests, l’organisation a déclaré être face à une image de « haute étrangeté » et d’une « entité » volante. Le curateur du Musée Provincial, Gustavo Siegentale, a émis l’hypothèse d’être face à un « mammifère carnivore avec des ailes, une espèce inconnue ». Le CEUFO a indiqué avoir reçu d’autres témoignages sur l’observation de cet étrange animal. Les investigations se poursuivent actuellement.

Translation from Yahoo Babel Fish:

A STRANGE BIRD It measures approximately 80 cm and was photographed in Argentina by a photo hobbyist, Fabian Romano. The man sent the photographs taken to the CEUFO (Center Study UFOs) of Argentina. After several tests, the organization stated to be vis-a-vis an image of “high strangeness” and a flying “entity”. The curator of the Provincial Museum, Gustavo Siegentale, put forth the assumption to be vis-a-vis a “carnivorous mammal with wings, an unknown species”. The CEUFO indicated to have received other testimonys on the observation of this strange animal. The investigations currently continue.

Source. Photo credit, Fabian Romano.


Of course, I must be realistic about this. How can anyone tell this is a “carnivorous mammal with wings, an unknown species” any more than they can tell this is a children’s toy thrown into the air and photographed? Or a known species of bird? Or an insect?

An image like this does not give any indication that it is “carnivorous,” does it? Or a “mammal”? Or just because it is blurry, that it is an “unknown species.”

But mark my words, this is going to make the rounds among some English speaking blogs, just as it is already doing among Spanish and some French “paranormal” blogs. This moved from Argentinan cyberspace to English anomalist sites last month, but received little initial play (e.g. Phantoms and Monsters, Dec. 10, 2008; Profiling the Unexplained, Dec. 11, 2008). Get ready for the second wave.

I figured you should all, at least, get a sane skeptical headstart at Cryptomundo!

Come on, now, certainly there is, well, nothing concrete here, is there?



Kentaro Mori in Brazil, creator of the excellent blog Forgetomori, emails me reinforcing my sense that this is something mundane, an insect.

He passes along this photo of a mosquito:

And the link to his blog that talks of these “insect-angels”:

Another update:

David Pescovitz over at Boing Boing picked up the story from us, and the UK’s Daily Telegraph has published an article based on the Boing Boing posting. And so it goes.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

38 Responses to “Carnivorous Flying Mammal?”

  1. sschaper responds:

    Isn’t that the alien who held Anakin’s papers of indenture in _The Phantom Menace_?

    More seriously:

    Wing/body proportion doesn’t look like it would work for Earth.

    Not that a carnivorous mammal would be impossible – just not in this photo – there are plenty of insectivorous bats, a haematophorous bat, and the pterosaurs seem more like monotremes than reptiles.

  2. Bob K. responds:


  3. Allan Slavik responds:

    Is that an airplane in the background?
    No mention of “chupacabras”, unusual?

  4. coelacanth1938 responds:

    It looks like a monkey hopping off the wing of the plane.

  5. Ceroill responds:

    Gee, you mean there are blurry unidentifiable photos of other things than large upright potentially unknown primates? Gosh. I agree though that there’s no case here for claiming what that is, one way or another.

    The insect ‘angels’ kinda remind me of ‘rods’ in the way an out of focus bug can seem to be something else.

  6. nzcryptozoologist responds:

    It would be a great day for cryptozoology when someone finally invents software that will totatlly un – blur photos of unusual phenonena.

  7. sallymonster responds:

    Clearly it’s a Dimorphodon.

  8. coudi responds:

    The bird is simply a man/woman “hang glider flying”

  9. tehxr responds:

    It appears to me to be a bee or wasp flying directly in front of the photographer’s lens there. If you look closely, there appear to be at least 2 pair of legs visible in the photo, one set longer, trailing aft, and another set, just above leading down toward them. Additionally, there seems to be a point to the main body, consistent with a bee or wasp, and the “head” section, you can make out some dark patches that are probably the eyes.

    I know I’ve seen bees or wasps outside my home, flying/hovering around the eaves of the house, and with this configuration (back legs dangling away from the body), and have had my fair share decide to hover in front of my face trying to make sense of me as I worked outdoors.

    I do believe the parties submitting the photo are hoping to get a rise out of folks but it certainly seems to be a hoax.

  10. Greatwolf responds:

    It looks to me like a plastic dinosaur.

  11. Wiseman responds:

    This looks like a toy that represent a little pterosaur like the ramphorynchus or dimorphodon.

    Then again maybe some new specie of bat “flying mamal”

  12. fossilhunter responds:

    Greetings All!
    sallymonster- good observation
    If it is not a fuzzy bug, it got me thinking of a hoatzin. Their usual range is north of Argentina, if that is where the photo was taken, but a few winters ago we had a pair of Siberian ducks just north of St. Louis! Personally, I think it may very well be a Greater Argentinian Double Exposure!

  13. tortoise responds:

    I see a bug (possibly a wasp), very close to the camera lens, flying towards the lens. Triangular blur near image center is the head. Brighter blur to the right and slightly higher than the head is the abdomen, partially occluded. Long structures hanging down and to the left are legs, w/the legs of each side grouped together. Wing blurs can be seen going down and to the right and up and to the left.

  14. ukulelemike responds:

    Judging from the length of the legs and the shape of the head, it appears to me to be something in the locust family, taken very close to the camera, hence the fuzziness of the picture.

  15. degroof responds:

    My guess would be a parrot. Maybe a Sun Conure?

  16. tropicalwolf responds:

    The unnaturally uniform “orange” color (all over the OBJECT), along with the “lime green” abdomen screams thrown/dropped toy. Sad.

  17. jhw1701 responds:

    It’s a locust/grasshopper in the first picture. Just look at the picture here for a profile view

    in the first picture Loren posted the round head, the eyes and the antenna are fuzzy but visible

    but the dangling legs are a dead giveaway

  18. mystery_man responds:

    Upon tweaking the image in photoshop, it becomes obvious that what we are seeing is a pug. 🙂

    But seriously, I see no reason to jump to any sort of unknown carnivorous bird when there are a plethora of known animals that could have caused this. There is no real way to determine the size of the creature in question, no characteristics that can be confidently gleaned from the blurry exposure, indeed nothing that rules out a completely mundane explanation.

    To be rational and critical about photos like this, or indeed photos of mystery carcasses, I feel it is important to exhaust the possible known explanations before trying to explain the photo with an unknown. And there are plenty of known possibilities. It would be irresponsible and unscientific to say this is a carnivorous unknown mammal based merely on what we see here, while ignoring other known possible causes. If there was something here that made it highly unlikely that it is a known animal we are seeing, then by all means speculate on unknown animals. However, that is not the case here.

    To me, it seems very possible that what we are seeing is an insect in flight, maybe even a small bird. If the creature in question was near the camera when it is focused on the plane, it would cause more blur and could also create a forced perspective that makes it seem larger than it really is. This has happened with seemingly anomalous photos before. There is not much to really discount that explanation.

    I’d be curious to know what exactly eyewitnesses reported in their testimonies of the alleged creature. Maybe if there are reliable reports ruling out a mere insect, we can do more with this. As it stands, there is nothing at this point to really make me think this is a photo of an unknown animal.

  19. MattBille responds:

    My first thought was “somebody put longer wings on a rubber chicken.”
    My second was “insect.”
    Either may be right.

  20. cutrer responds:

    Maybe it’s the gremlin from The Twilight Zone. William Shattner wasn’t spotted nearby was he?

  21. Rael responds:

    Looks like a reddish grasshopper to me.

  22. denm7510 responds:

    It’s simply a double exposure or a simple over-lay of a blurred photo of “Watto” the odd flying character that owns young Anakin Skywalker in the newer Star Wars films (Phantom Menace I think). Pretty silly, and if you look up “Watto star wars” on yahoo images, you can see a bunch of photos of him and see the distinct shape

  23. Alton Higgins responds:

    jhw1701 beat me to flying grasshopper.

  24. Lightning Orb responds:

    My guess would be praying mantis or possibly even some sort of an orchid being waved in front of the lense (note long pink blur extending out top left of photo – possibly stem?) Or it could be a plastic alien, dead turtle strapped to a model airplane, photoshop, mirrage, broken lense…

  25. Viergacht responds:

    I wish people would stop reposting my family photos.

  26. NightRyder responds:

    It’s probably a locust…you can definitely make out the grasshopper shaped head upon zooming in…Argentina has been plagued with locusts in their wheat fields through the years..

  27. tortoise responds:

    I’m getting behind the locust/grasshopper theory, particularly after looking at the picture linked by jhw1701. I thought wasp at first, but the grasshopper is an even better fit. I’m a little puzzled that people are seeing monkeys and birds and Watto, but that’s what happens when people are presented with an ambiguous stimulus–the mind fills in a pattern. I think the people who see anything exotic in this picture simply want to do so strongly enough that they project what they want to see onto the blur.

  28. tortoise responds:

    Incidentally, I didn’t mean to imply that the interpretation of monkeys, birds, or Watto was especially bizarre or exotic. When I was talking about people wanting to see something exotic and projecting onto the ambiguous stimulus, I meant for example whoever came up with the unknown carnivorous flying mammal 80cm wide idea.

  29. Jason Crocker responds:

    One thing I find highly suspicious…
    I use Babelfish EVERYDAY and I have never seen something translate so “well” into English.
    It is almost like the original text was written in English, translated into French and then back into English again. Just makes me wonder…

    Otherwise, I agree with the posters that suggest a wasp-esque insect close to the lens…

  30. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    if it’s a Dimorphodon, then it’s not just a Dimorphodon, but some kind of Dimorphodon, compared to the long legs and the short legs of a Dimorphodon.

    My guess wouldn’t bee a grasshopper or locust.

    no antana is visible. if possible.

    but still it could be some kind of unknown grasshopper or lucust.. possibley hybrid of the two.

    but a Dimorphodon is on my top list of suspects. 🙂
    the hybrid theory is in there too. 🙂
    and the unknown type is in there 2.

    and we can not rule out that it may not be any of the answer. but an unknown animal…

    Carnivorous maybe..

    now let’s settle this:

    Carnivorous. How did the photographer know it’s Carnivorous?

    Did He/she know the animal? and knows it’s known?
    Does He/She know the animal and know it’s unknown to Science, and seen it eating meat?

    like i said before, Some people may be breeding unknown species and/or having them as pets, without the public and scientist, and cryptozoologist knowing.


  31. Ann Unknown responds:

    This could be wrong, but to me, the upper photo looks a little like a small, blurry, but colorful pterodactyl, with really, really long legs.

    Though, I am absolutely certain, without any doubt, that the bottom picture is the angelic spirit of Kermit The Frog, ascending into Muppet heaven. 😉

  32. cryptidsrus responds:

    Interesting photo. I’m not going out on limb with this one, although if I absolutely HAD to hazard a guess, I’d say it was a closeup of an insect. But, one never knows. I’ll just sit back and enjoy the speculation. Nice picture of “angels,” by the way.

  33. maslo63 responds:

    I’m thinking its a toy being dangled in front of the camera, similar to some of the supposed ghost footage that’s out there.

  34. NightRyder responds:

    I did a little further investigation and came up with this : There is a locust indigenous to Argentina and surrounding areas of South America with some compelling descriptive evidence. It is known as the red-legged Schistocerca Cancellata Paranensis. Yes, its scientific name in the animal kingdom lol. As can be seen in the picture, the “ufo” exhibits a reddish/pinkish hue to its extremities as does the red-legged locust of Argentina. The infestation of locusts in Argentina is cyclical and during its heaviest reproductive massings there are simply hordes of these beasties all over the place. Me thinks I smell a “Georgia Hokey-Doke” with a South American flavor going on here. I propose that a one Fabian Romano “ghosted” his locust pic or got lucky intentionally trying to photograph the little bogey. I lean toward the intentional pic taking of a flying insect. Why else would there be no central theme or subject in the background of the picture other than the flying locust. 😉

  35. mystery_man responds:

    NightRyder- Excellent follow up work. Thanks for the info!

    I was thinking at first that this was an otter, perhaps light refracted off of swamp gas, but yes, I think I can also agree with the idea that what is seen is a locust. The general shape seems to suggest that, and the info provided by some here concerning locusts in Argentina is compelling. Whether or not it’s actually a locust, it’s most certainly some type of insect.

    Likely not a carnivorous flying mammal or 80 centimeters across anyway.

  36. CalebKitson responds:

    Honestly, legroof…a Sun Conure?

    This photograph is laughable.

  37. DOH responds:

    This Picture is the result of taking a picture through glass, it is clearly a reflection of a man holding a toy doll by the shoulder. do ya see it now? red suit, yellow boots, yellow gloves. need more help? the upper wing is the mans forearm leading down and grasping the shoulder, at the mans hand you can see the dolls arm pointing away from the mans grasp, see the yellow glove on the end of the dolls arm, the lower “wing” looks like the childs arm reaching up to the doll.

  38. Dracorex222 responds:

    Top: Mosquito close to the camera.
    Middle: It even say it’s a mosquito.
    Bottom: Swarm of black flies. I see them all the time in the summer.

    Sorry, I thought a first glance they were sky fish (rods) but, no. So, does that answer your questions?

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