The kongamato (Kaondé: "broken boats") is a neopterosaurian cryptid reported from wetlands in northern Zambia and parts of Zimbabwe, particularly the Jiwundu Swamp and the Mutanda River, in Zambia's western lobe, near the border with the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was originally ethnoknown to the Kaondé people, who described it as a flying lizard, and regarded it as a dangerous animal. However, the Kaondé made no detailed kongamato observations, and no actual sightings were reported until the 1950s, when observations of pterosaur-like animals were reported from the Bangweulu Wetlands and the Zambezi Basin, in the eastern lobe of Zambia. It is argued that many of these later accounts could be explained as mistaken observations of various storks.
Since it was first described, some cryptozoologists have controversially speculated that the kongamato was a surviving pterosaur. However, alternative theories exist, besides mistaken identity, including suggestions that it was a giant bat or a giant flying lizard; Bernard Heuvelmans cautioned against trying to identify it based on the limited reports. As the best-known neopterosaur reported from Africa, the kongamato has frequently been lumped together other flying African cryptids, such as the batamzinga, olitiau, and neopterosaurs in Namibia. As of 1997, inhabitants of the Jiwundu Swamp are no longer familiar with the kongamato, but supposed 21st Century sightings from the wetlands of the eastern lobe have been reported in local news oulets.
Notes and references
- Dayrell-Browning, Muriel "The Brontosaurus," The Daily Mail (15 December 1919)
- Eberhart, George M. (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, ABC-CLIO, Inc., ISBN 1576072835
- Heuvelmans, Bernard (1978) Les Derniers Dragons d'Afrique, Plon, ISBN 978-2259003872
- Heuvelmans, Bernard "Annotated Checklist of Apparently Unknown Animals With Which Cryptozoology Is Concerned", Cryptozoology, No. 5 (1986)
- Shuker, Karl P. N. (2016) Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors: The Creatures That Time Forgot?, Coachwhip Publications, ISBN 978-1616463908
- Coleman, Loren & Clark, Jerome (1999) Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0684856025
- Drinnon, Dale A. "Revised Checklist of Cryptozoological Creatures," CFZ Yearbook (2010)
- "Flying Dinosaur & Sloth Monster". Destination Truth: Series 2, Episode 5 (2 April 2008)