Recently-Reported Sightings of Living Pterosaurs: USA and Philippines

Cuba ropen - "Please report your sighting"

By the modern-pterosaur investigator Jonathan Whitcomb

Some of the eyewitness reports that I receive come from encounters years earlier, sometimes even decades earlier. Let’s now look at four accounts of sightings that were reported to me within the past few weeks, regardless of when the encounter took place.

Since the word “dinosaur” is mentioned in one of these, let’s be clear about it. In a scientific or technical sense, pterosaurs (aka “pterodactyls” by non-scientists) and not dinosaurs. Many people associate them with dinosaurs because of the popular idea that they lived together many millions of years ago. In reality, pterosaurs and dinosaurs are two distinct types of animals, regardless of when people believe that they lived.

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Sighting in California, S.F. Bay area

I got the following in January of 2018, a few days after the sighting:

Fremont, CA – 1/14/2018 – around 10pm PST
I witnessed a pterodactyl from roughly 50-75 feet away. It was gliding steadily, without flapping its wings, seemingly meer [mere] feet above the rooftop of an adjacent building. Wingspan, estimated 12 ft., distinctly visible diamond shape at end of tail. Crown of head tough to make out behind wing at angle of sight.

The eyewitness replied to my questions and indicated the tail was long.

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Sighting in Illinois

In 2007 at around 3 pm
Somewhere between Schaumburg and Elgin IL while driving west on I-90 at 55 mph for 4-6 seconds I saw a flying creature that didn’t make any sense. The animal was black but in the bright sunlight I could make out wrinkles or texture on the surface or the wings. I often take a minute to admire the golden eagles that circle the highway. This creature caught my attention because the size and shape of the wings which looked more like bat wings than bird wings. There were no feathers and the creature had a long spiked tail. I couldn’t place what I was looking at. It was no bird I could identify. I watched this creature travel southeast toward Busse woods.

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Sighting in Southern California

On January 31 2018 at 6:25 pm I watched a very large creature fly from west to east over Eastern Anaheim California. At first I thought this was an airplane of some sort or another. However shortly after sunset any aircraft would have exterior lights and make an engine noise. This was totally silent and gliding on very mild breeze of maybe 4-5 miles an hour. As I sat on my front porch looking west and talking on the phone, I saw this creature in flight it appeared to be off white or a pale green. From my vantage point I could see that the creature was about 400 to 600 feet above the ground and about 25 to 30 foot wingspan. I even thought it could be a remote control until it flapped its wings and then I was sure I was witnessing something very special indeed.

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Sighting in the Philippines

Its already 2018 when I saw this article and im really curious about it when I read that there are sightings in the Philippines (Pagbilao, Quezon). I have a same experience when I was a child (I really dont remember what specific year it is, approximately it is between 1995-1998) and we are having a vacation in my grandfather’s house in San Antonio, Quezon Province, Philippines. I saw a bat-like flying creature in the ceiling of the house in the 2nd floor, no feathers, almost skinny like a bat, not too dark skin color brown as I remember and its beak is so long and have one horn directly opposite to its beak at the back of its head and I really think it is a dinosaur or somehow a surviving remnants of pterodactyl. And maybe I was child back then but I am aware of what is a bat looks like and it is not a bat, also im aware of dinosaurs. My father told me to just ignore it so I really dont know what happened to the creature afterwards because when I look for it, it already flew away. I wont forget about that day because there is an old movie here in the Philippines titled “Anak ng Bulkan” and I believe that it might be true that there are still remnants of the pre-historic creature back then.

Cuba ropen - "Please report your sighting"

If you have seen anything that might have been a living pterosaur, please report it to me.

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Un pterosaurio en Cuba

Dos estadounidenses han visto un pterosaurio vivo en Cuba: Patty Carson y Eskin Kuhn.

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Living pterosaurs in California

A “pterodactyl” or pterosaur has also been reported from other parts of Los Angeles County: San Fernando Valley, Altadena, and twice in the Santa Fe Springs area.

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Another Living Pterosaur in North Carolina

. . . two of my friends saw one at different times in NC, Durham. I was alone driving my car, and looked out my sunroof to see what I think was a pterodactyl.

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Modern pterosaur in Philippines

At least a few eyewitnesses in the Philippines have reported pterosaur sightings to at least one cryptozoologist; I (Jonathan Whitcomb) have received a few reports myself.

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Pterodactyl in California

This report of an encounter in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is found in the second chapter of the book [Live Pterosaurs in America]

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Living pterosaurs and frigatebird misidentification

The great majority of those reports were of flying creatures that could not reasonably be attributed to misidentified frigatebirds, for a number of reasons.

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Reply to a Newspaper Article in North Carolina

pterodactyls in Raleigh, North Carolina

By the living-pterosaur cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb

The News & Observer published an article, earlier this week, about a sighting by Cynthia Lee and about my ideas on non-extinct “pterodactyls,” including pterosaur sightings in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was not the first newspaper article on this kind of encounter in the USA and on my work in cryptozoology. In accuracy and objectiveness, it was about average, meaning it had a number of mistakes and was weighted in favor of the old assumptions about universal extinctions of pterosaurs. The two writers (Abbie Bennett and Josh Shaffer) seem to have avoided any deep research into the possibility that eyewitnesses in North Carolina may have witnessed actual living pterosaurs.

Don’t misunderstand me here: I’m glad they published that article on January 11, 2018, for I hoped for something like that, when I contacted them, and I’m not surprised that they took the traditional point of view that all pterosaurs are extinct. After all, the News & Observer is the second largest newspaper in North Carolina, a regional daily source of news, not a paranormal publication.

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“Are there flying dinosaurs in NC? One woman says she’s seen them three times in Raleigh”

See the link “Flying Dinosaur in North Carolina,” at the bottom of this blog post

"Are there flying dinosaurs in NC?" newspaper article

Newspaper article in North Carolina (News & Observer)

A Typical Day in a Newspaper Office

Bennett and Shaffer wrote this article as one would expect the typical American newspaper professional to write. Nobody expected them to try for a Pulitzer Prize. It was probably just another day for them, handling a local and regional issue that would certainly be of interest to the average reader.

I can understand their position. Why risk making a paleontologist, or other scientist, upset with a story that might suggest even one eyewitness, out of many, might have witnessed an actual pterosaur? How much safer to assume that all the eyewitnesses were somehow wrong! Those two writers chose the safe but entertaining approach, like many other newspaper professionals would choose. They ended with this:

“Whether these sky-bound shapes are mythic beasts, ancient reptile survivors or great blue herons playing dress-up, they make for lively conversation.”

That seems like a fair ending to the article, avoiding any offense to anyone: another interesting story on an average day. I would be delighted if many American newspapers would publish stories like that, for I feel sure that someday, in some town or city in America, some newspaper professional will be struck by the possibility that maybe great blue herons are not playing dress-up. Will that article, whenever and wherever it will be published, fly well enough for a Pulitzer Prize? I’m willing to help that writer make a run for it.

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Living Pterosaurs in North Carolina

Jonathan Whitcomb, author of nonfiction cryptozoology books, has suggested that flying creatures reported in Raleigh, North Carolina, over several years, may be related to what Americans in other states have reported to him over the past fourteen years.

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Living pterosaur in an Ohio newspaper article

Something on front page of the Antwerp-Bee Argus newspaper was different, on August 5, 2009. It was the live pterodactyl that made the news.

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Houston Chronicle Denies Dinosaurs in Texas

One of the largest newspapers in the United States, the Houston Chronicle, printed an article dismissive of dinosaurs flying over southwest Texas (mid-December, 2010, by Claudia Feldman).

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Living pterosaurs in a newspaper article

An 1891 issue of the Los Angeles Herald newspaper had an article from an earlier California news publication, about reports of “dragons” flying over an area south of Fresno, around Selma.

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Non-extinct pterodactyls and cryptozoology

“Since the time of Darwin, many scientists have assumed that some general types of animals became extinct long ago. One of the assumptions is that all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs died off before any humans existed.”

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Flying creature in Raleigh, North Carolina

I saw the shadow of big wings on the ground, so I looked up and I saw a winged, brown, species of [pterosaur] flying in the sky in the afternoon around 6 pm while me and a guy was standing at the bus stop.

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Flying Dinosaur in North Carolina

Newspaper article in the News & Observer in Raleigh, January 11, 2018

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Where to Find a Living Pterosaur in the USA

ropen sketch over the Continental USA map

By the modern pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb

Where in the United States would you be most likely to see a non-extinct pterosaur, what many Americans might call a “pterodactyl sighting?” Before Christmas day of 2017, I would’t have had an answer for you. I’ve been receiving emails and phone calls from across the country for 13 years, and it seemed like almost any state of the USA would be almost as good as any other state. But the Living Pterosaurs Declaration page gives 161 sightings (as of December 25, 2017) in 34 areas where persons have seen these flying creatures across the country: It lists thirty-three states and Washington D.C.

Surprises for Jonathan Whitcomb

I had long known that California and Texas have been hot spots for pterosaur sightings, including encounters with ropens, some of which have been large flying creatures. But when I did simple statistical analysis based upon human populations, I found that California was only slightly above average for LP sightings and Texas was only slightly below average. Considering how many humans live in those two states, the number of sighting reports of apparent living pterosaurs is nothing extraordinary for those two states.

Correlated with human populations, the hot spots are in Hawaii and Utah. I was not expecting that. Third place goes to Oklahoma, a state with fewer humans than average in the USA but apparently a good share of “pterodactyls.” It seems that the state of New York is at the bottom of the barrel for the number of persons who send in reports to cryptozoologists, but on looking a little deeper, I see that five pterosaur sightings in New York state were not included in the declaration page. If those other five are added to the one, it gives a ration of 1.9 sighting reports per 6-million humans: well below average (3.1) but far above the bottom. Not surprisingly, while working in an office in a skyscraper in Manhattan, nobody reports a pterodactyl flying by the window. Like the rest of the country, the best place to be for a sighting of a pterosaur in New York state is out of doors.

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ropen sketch over the Continental USA map

Listing of Statistics as of December 25, 2017

Number of reported sightings per 6-million humans living in the USA (average across the country = 3.1):

Hawaii (ten) = 44.1

Utah (nine) = 19.5

Oklahoma (seven) = 11.2

Washington D.C. (one) = 10.0

Kansas (four) = 8.4

Arkansas (four) = 8.3

Virginia (ten) = 7.5

Georgia (twelve) = 7.4

West Virginia (two) = 6.5

Washington state (seven) = 6.2

Montana (one) = 6.1

South Carolina (four) = 5.2

Oregon (three) = 4.7

Maine (one) = 4.5

California (twenty-seven) = 4.3

Louisiana (three) = 4.0

Mississippi (two) = 4.0

Idaho (one) = 3.8

North Carolina (six) = 3.8

Ohio (seven) = 3.6

Wisconsin (three) = 3.2

Missouri (three) = 3.0

New Mexico (one) = 2.9

Arizona (three) = 2.8

Pennsylvania (six) = 2.8

Texas (eleven) = 2.6

Minnesota (two) = 2.3

Florida (five) = 1.6

Kentucky (one) = 1.4

Alabama (one) = 1.3

Massachusetts (one) = 0.9

New Jersey (one) = 0.7

Michigan (one) = 0.6

New York (one) = 0.3 (*but when updated to six sightings it is 1.9)

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*Additional notes on these statistics

The above comparisons are based upon version 056 of the “Declaration on Eyewitness Reports of Apparent Living Pterosaurs” (published on flying-creature.com), dated December 14, 2017. Revisions are expected in 2018, and probably after that, which may change at least some of the above numbers. With that said, it seems unlikely that the dominant states, like Hawaii and Utah, will be unlikely to change drastically in their positions during the updating which is expected in the year 2018. Please be aware of the following:

  • New sighting reports come in
  • Old reports that were not included in version-056 may be added

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Pterosaur sightings in Hawaii

I have encountered several sighting reports from Hawaii this year [2012] (mostly either email or blog-post comment I’ve received from eyewitnesses). But the encounter described in a post of the s8intcom blog now deserves attention and comparison with other sightings in Hawaii.

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Living pterosaur in Utah

On August 13, 2015, I received an email from an eyewitness living South of Provo, Utah. It confirms earlier reports of apparent pterosaurs in Utah, especially nocturnal flying creatures that are very large.

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Pterosaur sighting in Oklahoma

. . . a truck driver who witnessed what seems to have been a ropen, in Oklahoma, just yesterday.

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Pterodactyl encounter in Kansas

I have a feeling we’re not in Papua New Guinea anymore

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Living pterosaur in Arkansas

. . . we have two sightings, separated by about five years.

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Living Pterosaur in Ontario, Canada

sky scrapers of Toronto

By cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb, author of nonfiction books on modern pterosaurs

I received the following eyewitness account by email in 2016, most of which is this:

I was phoning around dawn on a hill on Eglington Ave. across from the Ontario Science Centre when I saw a very smooth brown flying creature about the size of a great blue heron, with an appendage on its tail’s tip, fly northeast from the dense vegetation around the power lines where there was a cliff. I was stunned and shocked as it slowly flapped its wings travelling at the speed of a seagull.

It was such a strange experienced that I was in denial and dismissed it time and again, until after just a short while later, I saw another weird flyer near dusk, and it looked slightly different from the first, and like it held something in its mouth. I was just on Horton St. going to Terry Fox Pkwy., and as it flew southeast from the railway, I wished that I could capture those two incidents. . . .

That sighting of an apparent living pterosaur was probably in early of October of 2016. Why was that eyewitness “shocked” and why did he go into a state of denial that he had seen that flying creature? Here’s the most likely reason: He witnessed a ropen, a long-tailed living pterosaur. I’ve received emails and phone calls from eyewitnesses for more than thirteen years, with many of them having similar details and sometimes much more in their descriptions of the “pterodactyl” that was seen. I use the word “apparent” in many of my publications to be precise, for I cannot guarantee that every sighting reported to me was absolutely sure to have been from an encounter with a non-extinct pterosaur. What do I feel sure of? It’s that not all of these featherless flying creatures are extinct, that some species of pterosaurs are still living.

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sky scrapers of Toronto

Downtown Toronto, Canada

Can living pterosaurs fly over major cities?

Some persons have assumed that modern pterosaurs, if they exist, must only be in extremely remote areas of the planet, perhaps in isolated tropical wildernesses. They assume that a non-extinct “pterodactyl” would never be seen in a large city, if such a flying creature existed. Let’s look at this logically.

Without any eyewitness, we could also assume that no large plane could fly over a large city, for it would be much too dangerous: What pilot would be foolish enough to risk crashing into a sky scraper? For that reason, no international airport could exist anywhere within 50-100 miles of a major downtown city. In reality, almost any persons who has ever flown anywhere knows that planes of all sizes fly over cities all the time.

In the real world, pterosaurs will sometimes fly over neighborhoods in various cities, but we need to realize that these flying creatures are nocturnal, at least for the most part, and many large cities are in Western countries in which the idea of ancient dinosaur and pterosaur extinction is constantly drilled into us from early childhood until we enter the grave. That is part of why most major newspapers almost never publish any account of any sighting of a living pterosaur. Another reason for the lack of such newspaper articles is this: Almost nobody will dare call a newspaper office to report a huge pterodactyl that flew over the family’s backyard.

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Danger from living pterosaurs in British Columbia

“Women attacked in British Columbia”

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Living pterosaurs in Canada and in the USA

Where is the least likely place to see a modern living pterosaur? Inside a building. If you want to become an eyewitness to that kind of flying creature, go outside, or at least drive around. Just be prepared to stop safely before gazing too long at a distraction like a “pterodactyl.”

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Prehistoric bird with enormous bat-like wings

“The Day Time Stood Still” in a remote area of Saskatchewan, Canada—This is one eyewitness account of the two ropens, or long-tailed pterosaurs, that he saw in about 1980 in a wilderness area. This online publication itself, written by the eyewitness, does not mention the possibility that the two pterosaurs were engaged in courtship, but Jonathan Whitcomb has suggested this possibility for the behavior of those two flying creatures.

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Pterosaur sightings in Los Angeles

Pterosaur sighting . . . It was south of Los Feliz (at the I-5), in Los Angeles, just a mile and a half south of where another eyewitness observed three “dragons” flying over the same freeway, two months earlier. That stretch of highway runs very close to the Los Angeles River channel. I feel that neither of those factors is a coincidence.

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