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Could dinosaurs still be alive?

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Question: Could dinosaurs still be alive?
"I am writing to you regarding the raptor sighting in Georgia story that was published in April, 2009," says Emily. "I am doing a school project on the sighting, and wanted to hear your feedback. Do you believe that dinosaurs could still be alive?"
Answer: Emily, although it is possible that some species of dinosaurs might have survived up to the present day, I think it is unlikely. Most scientists agree that dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago, yet the possibility for their survival lies in the fact that there are still isolated regions of the globe that are largely unexplored and which could be hiding places for these exotic creatures. The dense rain forests of Africa and South America, and most especially the deep oceans are the likeliest habitats for them. Many species of animals new to science are discovered in these regions every year.

However, I think it is unlikely that any true dinosaur species are still alive. To have survived these millions of years, they would have to have a substantial breeding population; in other words, just two or three animals out there in the jungle wouldn't do the trick. And if this population were there, I think there would be better evidence for them. Yes, there have been alleged sightings of large sauropods -- most notably the mok’ele-mbembe -- and some of these reports are very interesting, but several expeditions to find these animals (or some evidence for them) have returned empty handed.

So what do we make of the sightings like the one reported in the story you cite? I receive a few of these stories every year from people who say or believe they have seen a flying pterosaur or something even as incredible as a raptor. The possibilities are these:

  • They really did see dinosaurs (which, again, I think is highly unlikely).
  • They saw a common animal which they misidentified as a dinosaur. (For example, some people mistake a frigate bird for a pterosaur.)
  • They are hallucinating.
  • They are telling tall tales.

There's one more possibility. I'm not sure how much stock we can put in it, but I find it fascinating to contemplate: What if what these people are seeing are not living dinosaurs, but the ghosts of dinosaurs? If there are ghosts of people and there have been reports of ghosts of pets and other animals, is it possible that there could be ghosts of dinosaurs? If some ghosts are a kind of energy recorded on the environment, then perhaps it's possible that the psychic energy of these amazing creatures has been recorded and occasionally "plays back," resulting in a sighting. This is a long shot, to be sure, but interesting.

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