Nonfiction Books About Living Pterosaurs

side-by-side front covers of two cryptozoology books by Whitcomb

By the living-pterosaur cryptozoologist Jonathan David Whitcomb

Quotations from three nonfiction cryptozoology books

Searching for Ropens and Finding God (4th edition)

. . . avoid ridiculing those labeled creationist. . . . When in human history has one person always been wrong? [Introduction]

Albert Schweitzer inspired me, earlier in my teenage years, when I read of his unselfish missionary labors: He gave natives medical treatment in Africa; he also treated injured animals. I imagined myself as a missionary, helping natives in a jungle. Only later did Sanderson’s books steer my imagination into jungle explorations in search of undiscovered animals. [page 14]

After my own expedition in Papua New Guinea, I pondered how I had become involved and how those videos had touched me. What were the early signs that there were living pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific? [pg 22]

With Mary Blume’s help with interpreting, Guessman then interviewed Jacob Kepas [He was a Baptist minister at the time of this interview], who was twelve years old, living in the Wau area of the mainland, when he saw what we believe was a ropen. He heard a “whoosh” of wind, one night, and ran outside to see the seklo-bali that had just flown over his village. [pg 94]

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non-fiction 360-page paperback "Searching for Ropens and Finding God"

The “Bible of modern pterosaurs”

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Live Pterosaurs in America (3rd edition)

Could it have been a giant mechanical model? This mechanical idea breaks down. Why would a model fly from one swamp into another swamp? Why would it be so much bigger than the known mechanical models? How could it dive down to just above the highway and then ascend to fly over trees tops on the other side, without any acceleration of wing flapping and without even any mechanical appearance of wing flapping? And why would a mechanical model closely resemble a giant flying creature that catches fish on reefs in Papua New Guinea? They’re both too much alive. [pg 12]

I found it interesting that she asked if a “society” existed for receiving her report, and that the word “pterodactyl” gave her, at first, embarrassment. In Western society, including the United States, dogmas of extinction cause eyewitnesses of live modern pterosaurs problems: “Who do I tell?” is common; recognizing and verbalizing “embarrassment” is uncommon. I am grateful for the broadcasts of Destination Truth and Monsterquest, for they revealed the possibility of flying creatures like “pterodactyls” (even though pertaining to New Guinea). I hope many American eyewitnesses will thereby come to trust their senses, even without embarrassment. [pg 53]

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Third edition of "Live Pterosaurs in America"

Live Pterosaurs in America (revised, third edition)

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Modern Pterosaurs

I remember the experiences of a boy in Irving, Texas, in the 1970’s. A “very scary looking” flying creature had a big beak like those of fishing birds, but this thing had no feathers. It did have “claw hands” on top of its wings. Later, the boy’s teacher told him to be quiet. [pg 14]

Sometimes a sporting event brings many people out for a potential sighting. In 2010, I got an email from a man who was a teenager at a soccer camp at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, in the mid-1990’s. He told me that the flying creature “was huge, as big as a plane.” At least five parents and students watched it fly into a cloud. The teenager shouted, “That was a pterodactyl!” but the adults decided to keep quiet. [pg 15]

One stumbling block is this: Paleontologists, whether professional or amateur, have a habit of mentioning the supposed religious beliefs of those who promote the possibility of extant pterosaurs. In fact, in at least one or two posts, an expert on fossils ridicules a religious belief without even mentioning the word fossil. How easy it is for some readers to see only one of those posts and conclude that religious fanatics have been carried away by religious bias! [pg 66]

Small nonfiction paperback about modern pterosaurs

Modern Pterosaurs (published in the spring of 2017)

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Living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea

Three Americans explored a tropical rain forest in Papua New Guinea, within the past few weeks, and two of them succeeded in observing an apparent living pterosaur.

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Living pterosaurs for LDS readers

In a broad perspective, the reality of modern non-extinct pterosaurs is more in harmony with a belief in the Flood of Noah, with preservation of species on the Ark, than it is with the origin philosophy of Charles Darwin.

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Book about modern pterosaurs

For countless years, an old photograph has been seen on the internet, and some persons report they had seen it in a book decades before there was an internet.

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Book about the ropen

The fourth edition of another nonfiction book “Searching for Ropens and Finding God” can be classified in cryptozoology, yet it’s also a spiritual book, not much about any particular religion but asking for religious tolerance.

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Non-extinct pterodactyls

Are they still alive? Can reports of flying dragons be more than legends? . . . Pterosaurs, the technically correct name for what many call “pterodactyls,” are known by Western scientists through their fossils.

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Baptist minister searches for a living pterosaur

Late in 2006, Pastor Jacob Kepas (a Baptist minister) was interviewed by Paul Nation, in a hut in Tawa Village, deep in the mountainous interior of the mainland of Papua New Guinea. Kepas had recently climbed up a hill adjacent to a cliff where some of the nocturnal flying creatures sleep during the day.

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LDS Author Jonathan Whitcomb

Nonfiction dragons, or “pterodactyls,” as described by eyewitnesses around the world, beginning in Papua New Guinea

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A long review of Live Pterosaurs in America

. . . as I [was] browsing I spotted a book “Live Pterosaurs in America” by Jonathan David Whitcomb, a nonfiction analysis of actual sightings in the USA. This I had to own, so I immediately ordered it from Amazon, and a few days later it was mine! And you know what — I’m glad I bought it, and have enjoyed reading it.

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Nonfiction books on living pterosaurs

I have written four nonfiction books about living pterosaurs, in a total of nine editions.

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Flying Dinosaur

Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur sketch

Of course we mean “pterosaur” when we say “flying dinosaur,” but people use various words and phrases when they refer to this featherless flying creature, and “pterosaur” or “pterodactyl” can be hard to spell. Other common words and phrases people in English-speaking countries use are these:

  • dragon
  • dinosaur bird
  • prehistoric bird

Here is a living-pterosaur sighting report in which the phrase “flying dinosaur” was used:

Pterosaur Sightings in Georgia (USA)

Let’s consider some sightings mentioned in the second edition of the nonfiction book Searching for Ropens. (The 4th edition of this nonfiction book is shown below:

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Whitcomb's nonfiction "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" 3rd ed.

Fourth edition of Searching for Ropens and Finding God

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Funeral Gathering Included a Ropen

Eunice, a school teacher’s wife, described to Carl Baugh [who led at least two ropen expeditions, in the 1990’s, in Papua New Guinea] an attempted grave robbery. One night, in April of 1993, near the northwest coast of Umboi Island, after a large funeral procession arrived at the burial location, a creature with a glowing red tail came from the sea. . . . About two hundred mourners were awake when the creature flew overhead. The villagers banged pots and yelled, whereupon the intruder flew into a nearby swamp and the light disappeared.

Ropen Said to Live in Caves on Umboi Island

[A man] interviewed by Jim Blume, examined a magazine-cover illustration of a pterosaur. [The missionary James Blume has interviewed many eyewitnesses of apparent pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea.] The man said that he had seen those creatures himself and that they eat fish “out of the water.” He estimated their size (either wing or wingspan) at six to seven feet, “bigger than a man,” and said that they live in caves (on Umboi Island).

Duane Hodgkinson’s 1944 Sighting

“. . . it was in 1944 that I was stationed in Finschafen, New Guinea, with the U.S. military. While there, I made several trips into some of the surrounding native villages with a friend of mine and a native guide (provided by the Australian government). On this one particular trip, we had the wonderful opportunity to witness a pterodactyl take off from the ground and then circle back overhead and to the side, giving us a perfect side view which clearly showed the long beak and appendage protruding from the back of its head.”

Perth, Australia, Sighting

“We had been walking in the evening and had just crested a hill . . . In the distance, I perceived an object in the sky. . . . I watched it as it approached. Soon I was able to determine that it was some sort of flying creature, and my first thought was that it must be some very large bird. . . .

“By this time, its progress had brought it closer and while its shape did resemble a bird, I thought by now that from its apparent distance, it must be the largest bird I had ever witnessed. . . .

“Within a minute or so it had reached our position and was about 250 or 300 feet above us and slightly inland. The area was moderately well lit and I saw that it seemed to be a light reddish-tan color. It did not appear to be covered with feathers but had a leathery texture.

“Soon after it passed us, it flew over a more brightly lit sports area which highlighted even more the leathery appearance, also bringing more detail to view. The wings were the most definite leathery feature. They were shaped in a triangular arch, similar to a very elongated shark fin. The body also still appeared leathery, though textured as though possibly covered with fine hair or small scales . . .

“The head was close to the body, though whether from a short neck or from having its head drawn in, in the manner of some long-necked water fowl, I cannot say. . . .

“The creature, during the time we observed it, was mostly gliding. There was some wing movement as in a hawk or other bird controlling its flight path, but did not flap as a sparrow or other small bird. . . .

“Size is, of course, hard to determine accurately at a distance, since even a small miscalculation in distance can magnify any error in the estimate. I, at the time, however, estimated the size to be in excess of thirty foot, possibly as great as fifty foot. My eyes told me it was nearer the greater of these, my rational mind wants me to believe the lesser, since either of these is astounding for a flying creature . . .

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Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur sketch

A long-tailed Rhamphorhynchoid (“basal”) pterosaur

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Flying Dinosaurs (for mobile devices)

Two sightings of pterosaurs in Cuba and one sighting in New Guinea

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Ropen Eyewitnesses

Credibility of natives on Umboi Island in Papua New Guinea

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Flying Creature Like a Dinosaur in U.S.A.

Sightings in many U. S. states, including Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and Virginia, etc.

Pterosaurs Across the Pacific

Photo by "Roslyn in Starfish Island" Quezon Province

Long-tailed pterosaurs, called by the name “ropen,” are reported in many areas surrounding the Pacific Ocean, including islands near the mainland of Asia. We now have considerable sighting evidence even in Hawaii, islands surrounded by vaste areas of the Pacific.

Two “Pterodactyls” Observed in Philippines in 2008

According to the eyewitness, “I think we’re not the only ones who saw it, because my classmate told me that there are sightings of this thing in Atimonan, Quezon [Province], just one-half hr travel from Pagbilao, and I was told by the local fisherman there that he saw it several times, flying above the sea.”

. . . Question: Did the two creatures have tails?

Answer: YES! they have long tails about 3 to 4 meters long . . .it is    not a bird: They don’t have any feathers.

Question: Did you have a good view of them?

Answer: Yes! I was not the only one who saw it . . .

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Photo by "Roslyn in Starfish Island" Quezon Province

Quezon Province, Philippines

How can long-tailed pterosaurs fly across the Pacific Ocean and be found in many countries? Consider the size of some of these flying creatures. Some eyewitnesses estimate the wingspans: “30-50 feet” (Perth creature), “29 feet” (Finschhafen “pterodactyl”), “seven meters” (for one wing of the Lake Pung ropen, sighting around 1994). What could prevent such huge flying creatures from eventually expanding their habitat across the planet?

Additional Notes (Nov 5, 2012):

After publishing the above information, somebody responded with the idea that “many” sightings of apparent pterosaurs are misidentified Manta ray fish that jump out of the sea. But many problems are found in that conjecture.

  • The great majority of sighting reports that I have received involved flying creatures that were not over the sea but flying over land. That eliminates the Manta ray conjecture for those sightings.
  • Those few sighting that were of creatures over the sea—some of them involved long periods of flight, far longer than the few seconds it takes for a Manta ray fish to jump out of the sea and fall back into the water.
  • Other sightings over the sea involved descriptions that were unlike anything we know about any Manta ray: bioluminescence, for example, or flying in pairs (ray fish don’t jump up out of the water in pairs in a way that would look like two pterosaurs flying in tandem).

The sighting mentioned above, in the Philippines, had critical points from the eyewitness, details absent above:

“. . . a LONG NECK and . . . a horn behind their heads. They have a long beak. I even saw their claws between their wings. . . . They seldom flap their wings, about every three to four seconds.”

That destroys the Manta ray conjecture for this particular sighting in the Philippines.

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From the Third Edition of Live Pterosaurs in America:

Some birds migrate for many thousands of miles. . . . Since humans were inspired by birds to invent flying machines, give credit to birds for that inspiration. And give credit to the lowly Monarch Butterfly for migrating in large numbers for 2000 miles, with individuals crossing the Atlantic Ocean sometimes. But the wings of a giant ropen make the whole planet accessible . . .

Pterosaur in Hawaii

[The eyewitness] stepped out into his front yard and saw, about 100 feet high, a gliding ”pterodactyl.”

Pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific

For Americans (and perhaps citizens of other developed countries) who know about recent sighting reports of apparent living pterosaurs, the best known area for sightings may be in Papua New Guinea.

Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea

I believe in living pterosaurs and hope they will soon be officially discovered. More important, I believe in you, that you can soar above dogmatic assumptions about extinctions.

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cover of ebook - Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea - ver-25

Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea (nonfiction e-book) now FREE

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Pterosaurs in Eastern Australia and in New Zealand

The digital book Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea mentions several pterosaur sightings in Australia, including one in Queensland.

Kathy was driving [at about 8:30] at night, with her thirteen-year-old daughter, when the huge creature flew over the car:

“. . . The wings were so big. Black bat leather like.”

“One wing covered the car . . . you could see, just the underneath.”

“As it [bent its] wing . . . you could see how strong it was, so big.”

“No feathers just leather.”

“You could see the vein look stretching across the wing . . . covered with black stretched leather.”

Kathy answered my question about the location:

“We saw it at Mt Coolum Sunshine Coast . . . one hill away from Centenary Heights Rd.”

The digital book also mentions:

In modern eyewitness reports [worldwide, not restricted to Australia], long-tailed pterosaurs outnumber short-tails, at least four-to-one. Standard models of extinction make this ratio appear strange, for the long-tailed variety were thought to have dwindled before the short-tailed pterosaurs became dominant, at least that’s the theory. Nevertheless, the ratio is significant in modern sightings, appearing consistent regardless of the culture or beliefs or education of the eyewitness. . . .

Cryptozoology is not a branch of science, at least not in the usual sense; but it can motivate zoologists to conduct field investigations, at least in theory it can motivate them. It is the “study of hidden animals,” and usually relies less on direct scientific examination and more on eyewitness testimony; nevertheless, we can use scientific reasoning and methods within the boundaries of cryptozoology. . . .

Skeptics sometimes imagine misidentifications and hoaxes as explanations for pterosaur sightings. Statistical analysis has eliminated hoaxes as a major factor, but what about birds and bats that might have looked somewhat like pterosaurs? Detailed examinations of individual sightings eliminate that misidentification idea, but each report needs to be examined individually. I have researched that possibility off and on for about eight years.

From the paperback book Searching for Ropens (second edition):

In 2006, a young man living in Eastern Australia emailed the Perth couple about his close encounter with a nocturnal creature in the early 1990’s, when he was about twelve years old. During his farm chores, between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., he forgot something and had to backtrack. When he looked back at where he had been, at the door of a shed, he saw a large creature with wings. It was on the roof of the shed, just above the door where he had recently been standing.

. . . the boy had a brief view of the body and wings of the creature. It was larger than an average man six feet tall, with wings that folded to the side and back, reminiscent of bat wings. The boy ran to his house for help, but his parents saw nothing; by the time they had responded, the creature was gone.

New Zealand Pterosaur

Across New Zealand, North Islands farmland and countryside, there have been for almost a century tales from farmers and hunters, of a horrid winged beast, with long sharp fangs lining its narrow, beak-like jaws. . . . Farmers despise it [it attacks their cattle at night]. It is called “The Flying Slasher.” [Of course, this could be a non-pterosaur flying creature; who knows?]

Book About Live Pterosaurs in Australia

I don’t ask you to launch your imagination to fly with every story about a live “pterodactyl.” When somebody sends me an email about a strange flying creature, I don’t jump onto the first paragraph as if the creature had to have been a living pterosaur . . .

Whitcomb on Radio Talk Show in Australia

Aaron: Joining me today is Jonathan David Whitcomb, author of Live Pterosaurs in America and a new book which has just come out: Live Pterosaurs in Australia and [in] Papua New Guinea. . . .

. . . Jonathan: Most species of pterosaurs have become extinct at some time in the past . . . What we’re trying to portray to the world is that we’ve discovered a large number of eyewitnesses, from different parts of the world, who testify of something that couldn’t be anything other than one or more species of living pterosaur.

Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papau New Guinea

“At the far side of the clearing, a huge creature was running and flapping its wings. All the grass around it was flattened by the blasts of wind from the creature getting airborne. . . .”

Pig Eaten by Pterosaur in New Zealand

On a morning of 1981, [a farming couple witnessed] a spectacle they would never forget. After being woken by strange sounds, the couple walked to the pig sty . . . They were shocked to see a rather large piglet head butting an animal they had never seen before, a bat-like creature with an impressive, long beak, covered in scales. Both were covered in blood . . . the piglet seemed to be losing the fight. The winged creature . . . [after more fighting] flew off with the body [of the pig] in its jaws.