Dinosaur Artifacts of Acámbaro, Guanajuato, Mexico
Did pre-Columbian peoples from Acámbaro coexist with a group of living dinosaurs? According to some individuals and groups, there is plenty of evidence to support they did and no scientific proof they did not live with dinosaurs. On the other hand, the scientific community disputes the authenticity of the 32,000 ceramic dinosaur figurines that were found in Acámbaro, Guanajuato, Mexico during the 1944 excavation.
The most accepted and widely spread story is that German immigrant, Waldemar Julsrud discovered the first artifacts while horseback riding. While riding over Cerro del Toro (Bull Hill,) he spotted what appeared to be an exposed piece of ceramic pottery. Julsrud, an amateur archeologist dug into the rocky soil and unearthed several odd figurines that bore a resemblance to several species of dinosaurs.
According to all accounts, Julsrud was familiar with several of the pre-Columbian cultures that once occupied the area and the figures were unlike any previously discovered artifact. While the artifacts clearly appear to be representations of dinosaurs, the question of authenticity remains unanswered.
The Hoax Argument
The Chupicauro archeological site is located only 15 miles from the Acámbaro site and no dinosaur artifacts were recovered at Chupicauro, which is believed to have flourished around 1200 B.C.E.
Additional controversy surrounds the manner by which the artifacts came into existence. It is reported that Julsrud hired a local farmer and agreed to pay him 1 peso for every recovered figure. Some believe this spurred an entire community into the mass production of the artifacts.
Archeologists also claim the artifacts lack peculiarities associated with archeological excavations. Acámbaro excavations produced few damaged or broken pieces. Skeptics point out that nearly all archeological sites contain more sherds (pieces) than they do entire, pristine artifacts. Moreover, the Julsrud artifacts lack scratches, pitting or discoloration, which indicates the pieces could not have been buried under centuries old layers of rock and soil.
Many supporters dispute the efficacy of carbon dating techniques, as previous attempts produced inconclusive results. Scientists claim that dating is impossible, because the ceramic material is too young and soft to withstand the dating process. Supporters argue the existence of a conspiracy designed to withhold the truth about the age.
The majority of support comes from the creationist community, who claim that the discovery proves the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs. They further argue that the general Mexican public lacked the sophistication to replicate dinosaur images. They claim that Mexicans did not become aware of the existence of dinosaurs until the 1960’s. Thus, creationists use the find as a means to discredit the theory of evolution.
The origin of the figures will remain in dispute until proper testing methods are available, or a member of the Acámbaro community admits it is a hoax. Is it possible that we imposed our cultural expectations of what dinosaur representations look like on to a pre-Columbian culture? Perhaps, the artifacts are representations of creatures that appeared in their cosmology, mythology or imagination. Some of the artifacts are on display at the Museo Waldemar Julsrud in Acámbaro, Guanajuato, Mexico. Interestingly, these are not the only disputed depictions of dinosaurs by Native Americans. The “Ica Stones” of Peru are a collection of stones with dinosaurs carved on them.