The Acambaro Figurines Enigma: what if mankind coexisted with dinosaurs?

The discovery

In 1944, in Acambaro, near Mexico City, Waldemar Julsrud, an amateur archaeologist and an emigrated German hardware dealer, discovered some fragments of pottery in the middle of the ground, brought to the surface by the rains.
He immediately organized a team that, between 1944 and 1952, brought to light 33,500 bizarre-looking statuettes mostly made of ceramics, stone, jade and obsidian: some of them, in fact, portrayed human figures belonging to different ethnic groups (Egyptians, Sumerians and "Bearded Caucasians") but also men riding creatures and women nursing babies of what appeared to be dinosaurs.

Julsrud began to claim that they were accurate representations of dinosaurs created by an ancient people but he was not taken into consideration: since such prehistoric animals had become extinct many millennia before the appearance of man on Earth, archaeologists downgraded the find to the same of a joke or a fraud but in 1954 the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia commissioned a new study to four experts who judged the statuettes to be authentic, while reiterating the impossibility of any contact between humans and dinosaurs.

Charles H. Hapgood's research

In the following years, other scholars devoted themselves to the study of statuettes with more open attitudes. Among them, the American historian Charles H. Hapgood (Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of New Hampshire) went several times to the place where the artifacts were found to try to find a solution to the enigma, assisted by the police chief of Acambaro, Mayor Altimarino, who allowed him to conduct excavations wherever he deemed necessary.
In 1955, the research team managed to unearth other statuettes.
Hapgood even dug under the floor of the police chief's house, finding numerous artifacts of considerable interest which, he said, were proof of the authenticity of the sculptures, since the house had been built a quarter of a century earlier.
In 1968, a statuette containing organic material was found, which Hapgood immediately sent to Teledyne Isotopes Laboratories in Westwood, New Jersey, for carbon 14 dating. The result took everyone by surprise: the finds were about 6,500 years old.>br> Hapgood wrote a detailed description of his investigation in his book, "Mystery Of Acambaro".

Opponents vs supporters

To date, there are conflicting opinions on the origin and authenticity of the finds: archaeologist Charles Di Peso, specialized in Mesoamerican archeology, asserted that the Acambaro statuettes are a modern hoax that were probably made by local farmers, relegating the discovery to the field of pseudoarchaeology: according to him, the surface of the figures shows evidenced that they were of recent manufacture because if they had been authentic relics, they would have been scratched and broken like the rest of artifacts found in that Mexican area.
Some archaeologists believe that if the Acambaro figures are genuine, then they might actually be representations of stylized non-saurian animals, or mythical monsters and not dinosaurs as many have claimed.

Julsrud, however, had full support from the supporters of Creationism who, recognizing the actual similarity between the creatures represented and the dinosaurs, believe that they are proof of the coexistence of the latter and men: in particular, the supporters of Young Earth Creationism (YEC), including Dr. Dennis Swift, claim that they are confirmation of the fallacy of science and that their finding supports a literal interpretation of the Bible (see also The Bible is Not about God) that would destroy our whole modern theory of evolution.
Jalsrud was also supported by Erle Stanley Gardner, fiction writer and creator of the Perry Mason character, who claimed that 32,000 figurines could not have been made by a single person or a group of people.

For all these reasons, Acambaro statuettes are often included in the lists of Out Of Place Artifacts (OOPArt).


"God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs.
God creates man, man destroys God.
Man creates dinosaurs, dinosaurs eat man...woman inherits the Earth."

-Jurassic Park


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Article image by Brattarb

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