“A short account of a particular incident”—that is one definition of “anecdote.” But the connotation includes more than “short,” for “anecdote” is the word more appropriate when an event is witnessed by only one or a few and the report is second hand at best. Regarding eyewitness accounts of living pterosaurs, I have found that “anecdote” has been eliminated as a valid word for some of the reports. Consider what some critics have said and observe how the word is proven inappropriate. Those critics’ dismissals are themselves dismissed.
Things that eliminate the appropriateness of “anecdote”
- A written account was recorded by the eyewitness soon afterwards
- A sketch was drawn by the eyewitness soon afterwards
- An investigator or researcher examined the first-hand eyewitness testimony and wrote about it, quoting the eyewitness
Other things make “anecdote” less appropriate, for example, when two or more eyewitnesses describe the same thing, with details of similarity recorded. But any one of the above three points eliminates the appropriateness of the word “anecdote.” Consider some examples.
A critic of the report by Eskin Kuhn (two pterosaurs in Cuba)
In part, the critic said in his blog, “I had been planning on writing a post called ‘Thoughts on Eskin Kuhn’s Pterosaur Sighting’ . . . an American soldier named Eskin Kuhn saw a pterosaur while stationed in Cuba. The claim is a hoax. I no longer have the patience for dealing with creationist-related debunkings and I have no intention of actually writing up one for this topic.”
The problem with that short blog posting soon became obvious, for the writer used the name of a real person and wrote “The claim is a hoax,” without any explanation except that the eyewitness report is supposed (according to him, apparently) to be supported by persons labeled “creationists.” (His meaning of “debunkings” is unclear, unless he means that creationists attemp to debunk ideas contrary to Biblical Creation.) The eyewitness himself replied to the blog, with no uncertain disdain for the one who tied his name to the word “hoax.”
The critic replied, “Relax, bro, I said I was not going to do a debunking of your alleged sighting. Anyway, obtain a specimen and you’ll convert me to belief in living pterosaurs lickety split. Until then, all you have is an unlikely anecdote.”
The critic tried to step away from his previous stand about a hoax. How? By trying to shove onto the shoulders of the Marine the responsibility of making what could be one of the most dramatic biological discoveries in history: Obtain the body of a modern pterosaur and prove its authenticity to the world.
That critic has written many postings, apparently (I’ve read only a little of very few of them), but has he any inkling of the implications of his position? He makes no personal claim of any earth-shaking scientific discovery. Does that mean we can dismiss his words? Are all of his postings of no account, because his has not astonished the world with a scientific discovery? But I’m getting off topic.
That critic labeled the eyewitness report of Eskin Kuhn “an unlikely anecdote.” But the link that he gives in his original posting is to a site with at least twenty-nine short paragraphs about the sighting; that alone makes the word “anecdote” questionable. And all of those paragraphs were quotations of the eyewitness, Eskin Kuhn; that shoots down the word “anecdote.” And Kuhn drew a detailed sketch of the two pterosaurs soon after the sighting; that buries the word “anecdote.” I interviewed Kuhn, verifying his credibility, sealing the tomb on the word “anecdote.” And both his sketch and his words have been compared with other eyewitness sighting reports, obliterating any evidence for the burial location of that word.
See also: pterosaur sighting by Eskin Kuhn
And: Pterodactyl in Cuba
And: Marine Sees Two Pterosaurs at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Sketch by Eskin Kuhn