FAIRFIELD, Calif. — A truck driver in northern California is wondering what kind of creature his phone’s camera captured when he parked his vehicle to take a few pictures of an Air Force plane on display.
The anonymous OTR driver said he was on his way back from making a deliver at the Travis Airforce Base in Solano County, California, when he took the photographs on Aug. 10, 2013. He claims he and his partner had to wait at the base’s gates for over two hours due to an apparent “emergency shutdown”.
“After my delivery, I got turned around and got lost,” he reported to the MUFON website last Thursday. “I came upon this plane and thought I would snap a few pictures.”
The three photographs, image analysis reveals, were taken with a Samsung Galaxy S4 cellphone on the date originally reported by the eyewitness and show the first Lockheed C-141 Starlifter ever delivered to the Travis Air Force Base, a military strategic airlifter model they labeled The Golden Bear, standing by the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space aviation museum in Fairfield. Two of the images contain what looks like a big-sized, machine-like dragonfly flying next to the plane on display.
The photographer claims he “didn’t notice the bug” until after sharing the pictures with a few family members.
“When I show people they think its just a bug on the window, but I don’t think so. I’m not sure what it is,” the trucker said.
Further image analysis indicates that the photographs were not doctored.
In 2011, media outlets reported that the United States military were developing insect drones, suggesting the forces had most likely been working on this project longer than previously thought. Four years earlier, reports of “tiny machines” had emerged out of the New York and Washington D.C. areas after a group of students, reportedly participating in an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square, claimed to have spotted the alleged robotic creatures. The insects were described as being “large for dragonflies” and appeared “mechanical” in nature, convincing the students that these “were not real bugs”.
Last month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced their intentions to develop robotic “birds of prey” and “flying insects” in order to aid the military during combat situations, as well as to provide support to “urban and disaster relief operations”.
But real dragonflies, some biologists argue, already have that robotic look that, when added to an odd camera angle, would account for the subject in the truck driver’s pictures.
Giant insects are of interest to cryptozoologists as some believe that members of the supposedly extinct genus Meganeura, from the Carboniferous period, could still be alive.
Gauthier Chapelle and Lloyd S. Peck May wrote an article on this subject for the Nature scientific journal in 1999, “Polar gigantism dictated by oxygen availability”. In it, they theorized that gigantism during the Carboniferous period could have been possible due to the atmospheric oxygen being as high as 35%. According to this theory, giant insects could not survive today’s decreased oxygen levels.
Cryptozoology News reader and giant insect researcher Alan Lowey wrote an opinion article last year regarding the possibility of the Carboniferous insects adapting to today’s oxygen levels by having developed a one-way trachea tube through evolutionary means.
Last year, Arizona State University insect taxonomist Andrew Johnston, responding to Lowey, said it was “not impossible, although highly unlikely” for an insect of that size to have developed the one-way trachea tube.
“So many species remain to be described that perhaps we will one day find one that has done just that,” Johnston wrote.
In July of 2014, the Chinese media published the pictures of what scientists called the largest aquatic insect ever discovered.
Meanwhile, the Californian truck driver says he is keen to find out what the thing in the picture really is.