The latest statistics on eyewitness sightings of apparent living pterosaurs in the United States give clear evidence that no combination of hoaxes could have had any significant part in the existence of those reports. On occasion, a critic has brought up the possibility of a hoax, but these new evidences result from detailed analysis of the data, and they refute the insinuation of one or more hoaxes.
No Feathers — How sure?
The way that American eyewitnesses respond to questions about apparent lack of feathers–that shows something significant: 23% were sure that there were no feathers on the pterosaur or pterosaur-like flying animals that they had seen; 37% believed that there were no feathers but were not sure about it. That is the opposite of what would be expected from one or more hoaxes, for hoaxers would have tried to convey an absence of feathers, not a doubt about that absence. On the other hand, eyewitnesses of actual featherless flying creatures would have seen them under a variety of conditions (and eyewitnesses are sometimes far from perfect observers), creating a far-from-ideal way of determing for sure if the creatures seen were featherless; honest eyewitnesses would admit they were not sure. The numbers support actual sightings, no hoaxes.
Long Tails Dominate (Rhamphorhynchoids Live!)
From American eyewitnesses who mentioned a tail or lack of a tail, 86% reported a long tail on the apparent pterosaur (14% report a short tail or no tail). This runs opposite to both common standard-model ideas about pterosaur extinction and common portrayals of pterosaurs in movies and on television. Such an overpowering domination of long tails cannot reasonably be explained in terms of a hoax or hoaxes. In addition, this same dominance of long tails is found in eyewitness testimonies from other areas of the world.
The American World War II veteran Duane Hodgkinson estimated that the tail of the “pterodactyl” that he saw in clear daylight, in 1944 in New Guinea, was at least ten to fifteen feet long (far too long to be any feathers and clearly not any fruit bat). Critics rarely if ever mention this sighting, preferring to discredit nineteenth-century accounts of living pterosaurs