The Reverend Gideon Pond was the first resident missionary among the Dakota Sioux of Minnesota.
The Dakota Sioux called the thunderbirds "wakinyan," and they could point out "collapsed river bluffs, very common along the Missouri River, as places where Thunder Birds had swooped down to attack Unktehi [a monstrous water reptile] and its relatives." The German find was not as huge as the creatures portrayed in the legends, but fossils show that some pterosaurs had wingspans up to 40 feet.
The most striking similarity between this fossil discovery and the legends is more in behavior than in size.
Eberhard Frey and Helmut Tischlinger published the fossil description in the online journal This unique set of fossils appears to corroborate ancient Native American legends of flying reptiles that fished the water's surface and of sea creatures that in turn preyed on the flyers.
Evolution has no explanation for any such eyewitness accounts, but both the legends and fossil data are easy to interpret in the framework of a young world in which pterosaurs and humans lived at the same time.
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The violent scene seems similar to Native American legends of flying reptiles.
For instance, the Sioux Nation has a rich tradition of passing down stories orally from generation to generation.