Percy Fawcett and Dinosaurs

With the new movie, The Lost City of Zout in theaters, there has been a renewed interest in the intrepid explorer Percy Fawcett. While he is known for disappearing while on a quest for a lost city, Fawcett’s writings have been a tremendous resource for cryptozoologists and researchers. Fawcett wrote of a giant anaconda that he killed which measured over 60 feet in length. It should be noted that giant anacondas are thought to be mythical creatures. Fawcett’s writings also indicate that something prehistoric, possibly a dinosaur, exists in the vast South American wilderness.

The following is an excerpt from my book Water Monsters South of the Border:

Renowned adventurer Percy Fawcett explored the jungles of South America extensively. During the height of the rubber trade, he was hired by the Royal Geographical Society to survey highly disputed boundaries in the remote jungle along the border of Bolivia and Brazil. He is probably remembered most, though, for his, along with his son’s, disappearance. The pair went missing while searching for the lost city of “Z.”

During Fawcett’s expeditions into the jungle, he claimed to have encountered many unusual creatures. The most unusual by far was a creature that some believe may have been a diplodocus—a large sauropod dinosaur. Fawcett gave this account in the Daily Mail in 1919:

A friend of mine, a trader in the rivers and for whose honesty I can vouch, saw in somewhere about Latitude 12 South and Longitude 65 West the head and neck of a huge reptile of the character of the brontosaurus…The savages appear to be familiar with the existence and tracks of the beast, although I have never come across any of the latter myself.

In the same article, Fawcett also pointed out something very important when considering the existence of dinosaurs in South America. He said:

“These swamps over immense areas are virtually impenetrable.” (Emphasis added.)

Recorded in the book, Exploration Fawcett, is a passage written by Fawcett, in which he described a strange animal:

There are snakes and insects unknown to scientists, and in the forests of the Madidi some mysterious and enormous beast has frequently been disturbed in the swamps—possibly a primeval monster like those reported in other parts of the continent. Certainly, tracks have been found belonging to no known animal—huge tracks, far greater than could have been made by any species we know.

Fawcett was not the only explorer that told of dinosaur-like creatures in the remote forests of South America. Renowned explorer and former OSS Agent, Leonard Clark (1908–1957), became familiar with tales from indigenous tribes of large, long-necked reptiles that would attack canoes when approached. According to the natives, the creatures fed on vegetation, and their descriptions of the animals were consistent with that of a dinosaur similar to the diplodocus.

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