Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine, Orange County, California Home - Live Pterosaur Home - Live Pterosaur Glen Kuban Glen Kuban Missionary Jim Blume Missionary Jim Blume Flying fox and the ropen Flying fox and the ropen Duane Hodgkinson Duane Hodgkinson Brian Hennessy Brian Hennessy Crater Lake "Pung" Crater Lake "Pung" Paul Nation - pterosaurs Paul Nation - pterosaurs *Email* *Email*
For decades, reports of “pterodactyls” in New Guinea (the  country later renamed Papua New Guinea) were  dismissed with the explanation that people were just  observing flying foxes. In the early 21st Century, a web  page by Glen Kuban was dedicated to repudiating the idea  that pterosaurs ever lived in human times; he suggested  at least some of the sightings were of fruit bats.   On his web page, unchanged or not updated for years, he  has a large paragraph on the possibility that “at least  some” of the sightings of apparent pterosaurs are only  misidentifications of the flying fox fruit bat. Yet as recently  as May of 2016 (12 years after first publication of page),  he still does not have even one example of anyone who  had seen a fruit bat and misidentified it as a pterosaur.   The fruit bat known as “flying fox” is quite large for a bat;  some species have wingspans as great as five feet. To  visitors from America and Europe, these dog-faced bats  are striking. Yet the most experienced cryptozoologists  who investigate these sightings have not, it seems, found  even one example of any person who has seen a fruit bat  and mistook it for a pterosaur.   But how does this idea of bat-pterosaur misidentification  hold up to detailed analysis? When someone reports  seeing a pterosaur flying in Papua New Guinea, can it  simply be dismissed as a misidentification of a large flying  fox bat? Consider the details.   Grave Robbery   Jim Blume, an American missionary living in Papua New  Guinea for many years, has interviewed many natives who  know of creatures whose descriptions suggest a  pterosaur. Some natives report creatures robbing graves,  stealing human bodies completely away from the grave  site. American investigators have confirmed the reports of  grave robberies in Papua New Guinea (including the  living-pterosaur investigators Paul Nation, Carl Baugh, and  me, Jonathan Whitcomb). What is the point? Flying foxes  never rob graves. Eating Fish   The large flying creatures reported in Papua New Guinea  are said to eat fish; fruit bats do not eat fish.   Large Carnivorous Flying Creatures   Some reports involve animals or humans being carried  away by large flying creatures. Jim Blume reports a  number of cases on the mainland. Paul Nation learned  that the “indavas” near an inland village used to carry  away village animals or small children; this stopped after  the villagers learned to make much noise when they  heard the sound of the approaching creatures. But fruit  bats never carry away animals or people.   Bioluminescence   Creatures with names like ropen, seklo-bali, and indava  are said to glow brightly at night. Fruit bats do not glow.   This bioluminescence is not just a concept from one or  two anecdotal accounts, nor are the flying lights restricted  to native stories. A number of expedition leaders have  seen the flying lights, including the highly respected  British biologist Evelyn Cheesman, who wrote about her  observations in her book “The Two Roads of Papua.” In addition, Paul Nation, in an expedition late in 2006,  was able to videotape two indava lights deep in the main-   land of Papua New Guinea. The video footage was later  analyzed by the physicist Clifford Paiva, who found that no  common source was responsible for those two lights.  They were not from camp fires or the headlights of cars  or airplane lights or flashlights or satellites or meteors.   Within a few months of that expedition by Paul Nation,  the Destination Truth television team led by Josh Gates  explored a different area of Papua New Guinea. Yet they  too saw and videotaped a strange flying light that could  not be explained by a reference to any common source.  
Upright Posture on Tree Trunks   The ropen of Umboi Island has been observed to hold itself  upright on a tree trunk. This is quite different from the flying  fox, which holds itself upside down from a branch.  
Live Pterosaurs in America - third edition (Whitcomb also wrote Searching for Ropens . . .)
Copyright 2007-2016 Jonathan David Whitcomb
Photograph by Jonathan Whitcomb
cover of nonfiction book "Live Pterosaurs in America" Eskin Kuhn's sketch of the flying creature he saw in Cuba
Fallacy of the Flying-Fox Explanation for the Sightings of Living Pterosaurs
A Live Pterosaur Page
flying fox fruit bat with outstretched wings in flight Silhouette of a flying fox fruit bat - no tail is visible
The Gitmo pterosaur may be related to the long- tailed ropen of the southwest Pacific region
Notice the silhouette of a fruit bat. This is NOT a ropen.
The flying fox fruit bat does NOT have a long tail
Native man demonstrates how the ropen held itself upright on a tree trunk
Native demonstrates what he saw a ropen doing: holding itself upright on the trunk of a tree
A second islander shows an improved version of how the ropen was holding itself upright on the trunk of a tree
A second native tries to more precisely demonstrate what the men saw, how the ropen held itself upright on the tree trunk (video from a 1990’s expedition)
Long Tails   A large portion of eyewitness sighting reports of apparent  pterosaurs (commonly called “pterodactyls”) include a  description of a long tail. An American World War II veteran,  Mr. Duane Hodgkinson, described the tail of the “pterodactyl”  that he saw: “at least ten to fifteen feet” long. A villager on  Umboi Island, Gideon Koro, said the ropen’s tail was seven  meters long. A psychologist,  Brian  Hennessy,  said  that  the  creature that he saw had “a longish narrow tail.” An Australia  couple also saw a creature with a long tail. None of these  eyewitnesses saw any feathers; each of them reported a giant  creature. Fruit bats do not have long tails.   Giant Creatures   Hodgkinson reported the wingspan of his creature to be about  that of a Piper Tri-Pacer airplane: twenty-nine feet. Gideon  Koro reported the wing size (of the creature he saw flying over  a crater lake) to be seven meters (the interviewer later  concluded that he meant the size of one wing). The Australian  couple reported the wingspan of their creature to be between  thirty and fifty feet. Even if the eyewitnesses had been  exaggerating size, these creatures are not flying foxes. They’re  much too big. A fruit bat is only a small fraction of that size.   Flying Over Reefs   American living-pterosaur investigators (including Paul  Nation  of Texas,  Jonathan  Whitcomb,  Garth  Guessman, and David  Woetzel) found that natives report that the creatures fly just  above reefs (they live on fish and giant clams). Fruit bats have  little reason to spend time flying over reefs, and when they do,  it is never to catch fish or to carry giant clams far inland. 
Joshua Gates interviews native eyewitness in Papua New Guinea
Josh Gates, leader of the Destination Truth expedition in Papua New Guinea, questions a native about the glowing flying creature
What is Anecdotal?   Mr. Kuban seems to dismiss “anecdotal” reports of living  pterosaurs, but his web page avoids the details of the  most credible and significant eyewitness testimonies. His  reference list on the bottom of his page is commendable,  for most web pages have nothing like references. Yet it’s  now plain to see that they are outdated. Notice the  following years of publications he refers to:   1989 (in favor of living pterosaurs)   1995 (favoring universal extinction)   1997 (Karl Shuker)   1999 (Skeptics) 2002 (”Skeptical Inquirer”)   2005 (favoring modern pterosaurs - Ica Stones)   The most recent publication referenced is one by Dr.  Dennis Swift, who is an expert on Ica Stones. Yet Dennis  Swift does not specialize in the investigations of  eyewitness accounts of living pterosaurs. Indeed, Mr.  Kuban’s web pages are outdated and of limited relevance  for a number of reasons including the following writings  which have taken place since 2005:   Four editions of “Searching for Ropens” . . .   Three editions of “Live Pterosaurs in America”   Another book on sightings in Australia & in PNG   “Big Bird” by Ken Gerhard (mostly re. Texas)   “Bird From Hell” by Gerald McIsaac (Canada)   Scientific paper (peer-reviewed) by Woetzel   Scientific paper (peer-reviewed) by Whitcomb   Over a thousand web pages by J. D. Whitcomb  Let’s look closer at Kuban’s comments about “anecdotes.”  He says, “Generally anecdotal evidence is not considered  a sound basis for firm scientific conclusions.” I appreciate  that observation, but what about insightful observations  and sound scientific reasoning and the most compelling  eyewitness testimonies in favor of a new idea? Should  scientists dismiss all that because the obvious conclusion  is contrary to long-standing assumptions? I say no.   Yet Kuban’s page appears to be constructed with one big  objective in mind: Find the most flimsy stories and the  least credible anecdotes and concentrate on shooting  them down, one by one. He included one average-sized paragraph on what I had  written (on my old “Pterosaurs Still Living” site) about an  interview in which I had drawn something “in the sand.” I  appreciate his devoting part of a sentence to my findings  from my expedition in 2004, yet he quickly gets to the  conclusion of his paragraph by mentioning that I am not a  “realistic artist.” I have written a number of chapters, in a  number of books, on my expedition in Papua New Guinea  in 2004. Glen Kuban has written a lengthy web page, and  “expedition” is mentioned but twice (neither one in that  paragraph about my interview with a native).   I understand that Mr. Kuban first wrote his web page  around 2004, well before any of the many books and  recent online publications were written. Yet his most  recent copyright year on his page is “2013.” So why does  it appear that he has read nothing that I or any of my  living-pterosaur associates have written since 2005? If he  has read any of it, why has he kept quiet about it?   I was a forensic videographer when I traveled to Papua  New Guinea, with experience in interviewing people for  court trials, and I had learned, prior to my expedition,  some of the Tok Pisin language. In addition to my  personal interpreter, I had the help of Mark Kau, who  knew the local Kovai language of that area. I was not  compiling anecdotes but interviewing eyewitnesses.   Guessman and Woetzel, within weeks of my expedition,  interviewed other natives who were shown dozens of  silhouettes of birds, bats, and pterosaurs. Why did the  natives pass up silhouettes of bats and birds and choose a  pterosaur-silhouette? What is “anecdotal” about all of  those professionally-conducted interviews? Questioning  was organized and the answers were followed up with a  number of related questions. The answers were carefully  considered, objectively analyzed, and published.  
More Comments about Glen Kuban’s “Living Pterodactyls?”
By Jonathan David Whitcomb, author of Searching for Ropens and Finding God
Why Ignore What is Most Important?   Mr. Kuban says, “. . . finding a living species of pterosaur  would be a monumental discovery . . .” but his web page  says nothing about the testimony of Duane Hodgkinson,  the World War II veteran who, in more recent years, was  a certified flight instructor. His eyewitness account of the  gigantic “pterodactyl” in New Guinea may be the most  important pterosaur sighting report of the 20th century. To me, that omission, the glaring omission of the name of  Duane Hodgkinson, on such a long web page about  reports of living pterosaurs—that suggests Mr. Kuban has  either been neglectful in his research or has deliberately  avoided an extremely important avenue of evidence.   Kuban devotes about eight paragraphs to what Carl  Baugh has written or said, but that creationist has not  been in an expedition in Papua New Guinea since 1996.  My associates and I who have explored the jungles of that  southwestern Pacific nation more recently have avoided  many of the old mistakes of Carl Baugh, in my opinion. So  why has Kuban said so little about me and Garth  Guessman and David Woetzel and Paul Nation, compared  with what he said about Carl Baugh? All that comes to my  mind, in answer, is this: Perhaps it’s much easier to point  out old glaring mistakes than it is to tackle recent findings  that strongly point to the existence of living pterosuars, if  your objective is to cast doubt on the possibiity that the  old assumption about universal pterosaur extinction is  wrong. And just one species of living pterosaur destroys  the “universal” aspect of extinction.   Glen Kuban says nothing about the flange or “diamond”  that is reported at the end of long tails. After reading his  web page (”Living Pterodactls?”), who would guess that a  detailed compilation of the more-credible sighting reports  was done at the end of 2012 and that 28.5% of the 128  reports included a description suggesting that the flying  creature had a Rhamphorhynchoid-like tail flange?   Kuban says nothing about  the report  of ropen  tail-   movement  (similar to Rhamphorhynchoid tail mechanics).  Yet Guessman and Woetzel interviewed one native who  told them about the movement of the ropen’s tail, and  that description corresponds precisely with what modern  paleontologists know about how Rhamphorhynchoid tails  would have moved. Who could guess that anyone had  discovered such a correspondance from reading only what  Kuban had written in “Living Pterodactyls?”   That page says almost nothing about fish-eating habits of  ropens; only a short phrase in one sentence even hints  that flying creatures in Papua New Guinea might eat fish.  Why pay so little attention to fish-eating? That reported  diet of the ropen could destroy the credibility of a 230-   word paragraph in which Kuban tries to promote the idea  that the flying fox fruit bat can be misidentified as a  pterosaur. If that were the only evidence for a lack of  objectivity on the part of Mr. Kuban, my evaluation could  be set aside as speculative, but it’s part of a big picture.   “Living Pterodactyls” seems devoid of anything that might  promote any hope that any pterosaur might live in the  Southwest Pacific. Why dismiss years of labor, the costly  labor of those who have struggled to uncover the truth  about these recent reports in Papua New Guinea? We  have struggled through difficult trails in a harsh tropical  environment, searching for evidence and finding many  credible eyewitnesses. For those who disbelieve in our  conclusions, why seek to discredit years of work? Why not  allow for the possibility that we are on the verge of a  monumental discovery, in spite of our weaknesses?   If “Living Pterodactyls” were a short web page with no  reference list at the bottom, we might dismiss it as  shallow skeptical fluff, not worth giving it much notice.  But this looks like an article of close to 2700 words, at  least, with a reference list that can make it resemble a  scientific paper published in a journal. Put this in  perspective: Kuban’s web page may be about ten times  longer than an average web page, giving it an air of  thoroughness. But when compared with what’s written in  more than a thousand web pages (yes 1,000+) promoting  the plausibility of modern pterosaurs, it is tiny.  
Duane Hodgkinson, World War II veteran who saw a huge pterodactyl
(Youtube) The World War II veteran Duane Hodgkinson was interviewed by Garth Guessman. D.H. described the huge flying creature that he and his army buddy saw in a jungle clearing in New Guinea in 1944.
front and back covers of the nonfiction book "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" fourth edition
Searching for Ropens and Finding God (4th ed)
moon at night with trees - from web page www.flying-creature.com
Web site “Flying Creature” (nocturnal pterosaurs)
Cryptozoology author Jonathan Whitcomb
“A Brief Introduction to Living-Pterosaur Investigations” (Youtube mini-documentary) by cryptozoologist Jonathan David Whitcomb
A rebuttal to the fruit-bat misidentification conjecture
Answering a speculative conjecture about misidentifying bats for pterosaurs