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]


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

The “Bible of modern pterosaurs”


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]


Third edition of "Live Pterosaurs in America"

Live Pterosaurs in America (revised, third edition)


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)




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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


LDS Author Jonathan Whitcomb

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


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.


Nonfiction books on living pterosaurs

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


“Dinosaur Books” and Searching for Ropens

nonfiction book by Jonathan Whitcomb: "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" - third edition

Nobody who understands the distinction between dinosaurs and pterosaurs thinks of the ropen as a dinosaur. But whether or not it’s a pterosaur—that has been controversial. My first book, Searching for Ropens, a spiritual-cryptozoology cross-genre, is now in its second edition, with a revised and expanded third edition in preparation. It was written entirely on the assumption that at least one species of modern pterosaur could be living in Papua New Guinea.

Most nonfiction dinosaur books available on Amazon seem to be strictly traditional standard-model in foundation, probably with no allowance for modern living forms of creatures thought long extinct. Before examining my book let’s see a bit about two of the most popular Amazon ones for dinosaurs.

  1. National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs (Amazon #1 children’s dinosaur book) – by Catherine D. Hughes   (Author) and Franco Tempesta (Illustrator)
  2. National Geographic Kids Ultimate Dinopedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever (for children ages 7-10) – by Don Lessem   (Author), Franco Tempesta (Illustrator), and Rodolfo Coria (Introduction)

Searching for Ropens (second edition)

Acknowledgements (beginning)

A key to successfully exploring a sparsely populated wilderness is, ironically, people-skills. My father and mother inspired others, lifting self-esteem; following their examples, I’ve tried inspiring others, though I’ve usually been the one encouraged or inspired. In particular, the pioneering investigations of Jim Blume, Carl Baugh, and Paul Nation illuminated the path for my own investigation in Papua New Guinea . . .

Introduction (beginning)

Yes, I did search for giant living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea, and I criticize the philosophy that causes Westerners to thoughtlessly dismiss any eyewitness report that suggests a living pterosaur; I censure nobody, however, for simply doubting such creatures still fly, for the idea defies an entrenched Western belief. About the ropen, believe what you will; what do I think about this creature? Such is the power of the testimonies of the eyewitnesses I’ve encountered, that it’s as real to me, almost, as if I had stared it in the face.

Chapter One (first paragraph)

It looked like a dead pterodactyl: not fossil bones but with skin, like it had died recently. Could these creatures, non-extinct, still fly? Although I never verified the authenticity of the photograph in the soon-forgotten library book, this idea—living pterodactyls—would be awakened four decades later, plunging me into the most dramatic adventure of my life: exploring a remote tropical island, searching for giant living pterosaurs.


Front cover of the second edition of the nonfiction cryptozoology book "Searching for Ropens" by Jonathan Whitcomb

Searching for Ropens – second edition


Searching for Ropens (third edition)

Additional paragraphs are being added to the third edition, and probably at least one additional chapter.

Chapter One (fourth paragraph)

The existence of life I credited to God, from childhood respecting the Bible as nonfiction. When I was ten, my father, psychologist for the San Bernardino School District in California, showed me the largest collection of bird eggs in the Western United States, in the museum in our own little town of Bloomington. The variety of eggs and birds, all dead, fascinated me; but non-birds becoming birds discomforted me, for each form of life appeared to have a role in its own basic form.

The third edition is still being written; expect much more. [was published in the spring of 2014 but was later replaced by the fourth edition in October of 2014]


small pile of books: "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" by Jonathan Whitcomb

It was published in April, 2014: Searching for Ropens and Finding God (third edition), yet this was replaced by the new fourth edition,  in October of 2014

BUY IT NOW on Amazon: the ropen book (revised 4th edition)


pre-publication version of the front cover of this nonfiction bookThe ultimate edition, number four, also called “the Bible of modern pterosaurs”


Dinosaur Books

Searching for Ropens, second edition was ranked #6, but in contrast to the other nonfiction books this one is about non-extinct pterosaurs, yes, living “pterodactyls.” [Amazon books under a category stream that includes “dinosaurs”]



Part Three of Radio Podcast Interview

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

See Part One of Whitcomb-Syrett radio interview, for the beginning of the discussion. This third part of the series is not the end of the interview, which is lengthy. It is continued from the second part. (A fourth part may or may not be added later.) This post includes a quotation from the digital book Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea. Richard Syrett:

How did that skill help you in [interviewing] witnesses?

Jonathan Whitcomb:

Well, I noticed on the videotapes (I got from Paul Nation from Texas, who went on a couple of expeditions before I did), and I noticed on the videotaped interviews of the natives, and I looked at that . . . I realized that the natives are not trying to convince anybody of anything, they’re just casually relating what they saw, and most of them saw just a light in the distance, a flying light, because we believe its bioluminescence from the creature. And most of them saw that, and they admit they didn’t see anything about the form; it’s just a few of them that saw the form like a pterosaur. So I was convinced that they’re telling the truth . . .(in particular one named Gideon Koro—he saw it in the day time: astonishing, frightening creature).


Why do they seem to be so prevalent in Papua New Guinea? Is it because it’s remote, or is there a food source there? Why so many ropens in New Guinea?


Well, generally all over the world, for eight and a half years or so I’ve been researching this, and I get a lot of emails from people all over the world [even] phone calls. Generally most of them are long-tailed creatures, no feathers. I don’t know for sure that they’re more prevalent; I believe they’re more prevalent in Papua New Guinea because there’s a variety of different food sources they have in the reefs, for example, [on] Umboi Island, while I was exploring, a creature was dominant there on the island, will go to one reef one night, and then he’ll get food there, giant clams or whatever it is . . . and then he’ll go to the mountain that’s closest to it, and then he’ll go to another mountain and then fly off on another night to a reef that’s adjacent to that mountain.

[May or may not be continued in another post] . From the nonfiction cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea: Introduction

. . . In modern eyewitness reports, 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. Furthermore, many of those long tails are reported to have tail vanes that suggest Rhamphorhynchoids. A common word used by eyewitnesses, to describe the shape of the structure at the end of the tail, is “diamond.”

First Chapter: “How can Pterosaurs be Alive?”

. . . Some eyewitnesses fear discovering the monstrous possibility of personal insanity. Others fear not insanity itself but the opinions of anyone who might think them insane. Others fear discovering that some of what they had been taught about science was false; they prefer to believe that scientific proclamations must always be true. How grateful I am for those who, in spite of their fears, report to me their encounters! Of course we’re talking about Western eyewitnesses here. Some Americans and Australians fear what neighbors might say to other neighbors, so some eyewitnesses keep quiet. Natives in Papua New Guinea, on the other hand, might fear the creature itself. Who cares if your closest neighbor is thirsting for gossip? That huge long-tailed flying thing north of your village might become a close neighbor . . . and it might become hungry. You’ll see an example of that kind of fear in the chapter with the interview of Gideon Koro.

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

$3.99 (U.S. dollars) .

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:


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

Fourth edition of Searching for Ropens and Finding God


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 . . .


Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur sketch

A long-tailed Rhamphorhynchoid (“basal”) pterosaur


Flying Dinosaurs (for mobile devices)

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


Ropen Eyewitnesses

Credibility of natives on Umboi Island in Papua New Guinea


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

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