Aug 14, 2007
The Fenghuang are mythological Chinese birds that reign over all other birds. The Fenghuang is also called the “August Rooster,” and thus it is intriguing this bridge collapsed in August.
The taloned, long-necked, long-legged, tall grasping Fenghuang (see images on this page) have appeared in China for over 7,000 years, back to the days of the ancient eastern tribes. The Fenghuang’s snake-like neck may be a folk memory of the Asian Ostrich (Struthio asiaticus), which was common in prehistoric China but became extinct only a few thousand years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene.
This bird was known to the early Asian humans as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds, including decorated pottery with what appear to be painted ostriches, and bones discovered at early campsites. As such, the Fenghuang certainly deserves a page in cryptozoology.
Interestingly, in terms of the zoological basis of West Virginia’s Mothman, one candidate is the four feet tall extinct Cuban owl that has long legs similar to the Fenghuang’s.
China’s Fenghuang usually are given positive connotations, and are said to appear in peaceful and prosperous times but hide when trouble is near.
Fenghuang is the county and town in western Hunan province of China, where the bridge collapse occurred, and its name is written with the same Chinese characters as the mythological bird.