Stingrays are related to sharks and some live in fresh water. An apparently fresh conjecture about the origin, in Africa, of the word “Kongamato,” however, has little relevance to most reports of living pterosaurs. The idea that a species of large stingray may have been the origin of the African word for “overturner or boats” may have some merit, but the origin of the word “Kongamato” is irrelevant.
Regardless of what caused natives, long ago, to name this frightening creature, many reports of apparent pterosaurs in Africa involve featherless creatures flying over land, not jumping out of water, as a stingray may do on occasion. Although some modern pterosaurs appear to live close to water (even catching fish on reefs, as is the case with the ropen of Papua New Guinea) the sighting reports themselves, when details are noted, eliminate any reasonable possibility that what was seen was a stingray.
But what about the “flying snake” of Namibia? According to research done by the British cryptozoologist Richard Muirhead, one of these creatures “swooped down” from a cave near Kirris West, in 1942, (sixty miles east of Keetmanshoop, south-west Namibia.) It left a trace of something on the ground and a burning smell.
The boy noticed something on the roof of a nearby hut. Lit up by the patio light, perched on the edge of the roof, the creature appeared to be four-to-five feet tall, olive brown, and leathery (no feathers). A “long bone looking thing” stuck out the back of its head, and its long tail somehow resembled that of a lion. The boy froze as the creature stretched its wings and hopped toward another roof, passing a few feet over the boy’s head. He dropped the metal tray with dishes and the creature flew away.
Regardless of the origin of the word “Kongamato,” (from a stringray or a pterosaur) the modern meaning, in Western countries, involves concepts related to a modern pterosaur.