At Lab Lab Village, Umboi Island, StevenCottingham, a government official, saw the ropen light for himself -More on Cottingham sighting
For eight years, Jonathan Whitcomb hasreceived direct reports from eyewitnessesfrom around the world: live pterosaurs -More on Jonathan Whitcomb
Finschhafen Harbor, near where the WorldWar II veteran saw the huge “pterodactyl” -More on Finschhafen
Scientific Papers in peer-reviewed journals of science, on reports of living pterosaurs
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“One clue [about what kind of flying creature is this Orang-bati] is in the tradition about capturing young humans. Those storiesare also found in Papua New Guinea. The indava flying creatures, seennear Tawa Village, deep in the interior of the mainland of PNG, are said to have carried away children and pigs from the villagers, in the past”.
“Misidentified fruit bat” has been found to be an inadequate explanation for sighting of long-tailed pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea and other areas of the southwest Pacific
Introduction to Living Pterosaurs In the book The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Pterosaurs, Dr. Peter Wellnhofer devotes two pages to the extinction of pterosaurs and mentions the “paucity of the fossil record, especially for pterosaurs.” But the rarity of those fossils opens up a concept most paleontologists have never dreamed of: Maybe some pterosaurs never became extinct, for how can any scientist make any sound conjecture about the extinction of species for which there is no fossil evidence? Contrary to what many paleontologists believe, some cryptozoologists, including Jonathan Whitcomb of Long Beach, California, believe that one or more species of pterosaurs are still living, although most, at least, seem to be nocturnal and uncommon. For eight years, Whitcomb has gathered and analyzed eyewitness reports from around the world, including North America. He has concluded that a number of species of pterosaurs still live on the earth. Expeditions in Papua New Guinea In 2004, he explored part of Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, and interviewed many native eyewitnesses of the flying light that they call “ropen.” Just before he left the island, he found four eyewitnesses of more than just a distant light. Gideon Koro, his brother Wesley, and their friend Mesa had been terrified by the huge flying creature that flew over the surface of Lake Pung, in daylight, about ten years earlier. In addition, Jonah Jim also saw the wings and the long tail of the glowing ropen, at close range, one evening. A few weeks after Whitcomb’s expedition, other American cryptozoologists explored Umboi Island. David Woetzel, of New Hampshire, and Garth Guessman, of Southern California, confirmed the native accounts of a bright glow that the Americans attributed to the bioluminescence of a large flying creature. Woetzel and Guessman used detailed questionnaires, including one page of silhouette sketches of birds, bats, and pterosaurs. Two of the native eyewitnesses had close enough views of the ropen to give reliable responses to those thirty-four silhouettes, and both Jonathan Ragu and Jonah Jim chose the one that represented the Sordes Pilosus, a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur. After returning to the United States, Whitcomb wrote web pages and a book: Searching for Ropens. He was surprised when, over a period of six years, many Americans found his web pages and told him about their encounters with similar flying creatures in North America, including many U. S. states. He then wrote the book Live Pterosaurs in America. Sightings of Apparent Pterosaurs in the United States In a 2009 press release, Whitcomb declared that at least 1400 Americans have seen a living pterosaur between 1980 and 2008 (4-5 persons per million Americans). After a number of cryptozoologists objected to the speculative nature of his estimate, Whitcomb maintained that sightings are far more common than the few news reports, in the late twentieth century, would suggest. He emphasized that many of those Americans are reluctant to tell anyone that they have seen a living “pterodactyl.” Some eyewitnesses, however, report their strange encounters to Whitcomb, whose web pages on the subject are easily found on the internet. The December 19, 2010, edition of the Houston Chronicle included an article on Whitcomb’s conjecture about the Marfa Lights of western Texas, quoting an engineer (rather than a biologist) who ridiculed the possibility that “flying dinosaurs” may be responsible. (The original press release that elicited that article compared the ghost lights of Marfa, Texas, with the ropen lights of Papua New Guinea.) But eyewitnesses from around the world, including Texas, report flying creatures that do not fit any known bird or bat, and some reports include descriptions of a glow that Whitcomb maintains is bioluminescence. Hodgkinson Sighting of “Pterodactyl” During World War II With daylight sightings, perhaps the most publicized modern report comes from Duane Hodgkinson, who saw a “pterodactyl” near Finschhafen, New Guinea, during World War II. He and his army buddy, in a jungle clearing that was about a hundred feet across, in clear daylight, saw a “huge” winged creature as it ran across the far side of the clearing and took off into the air. Hodgkinson, during a later interview, estimated the wingspan was comparable to that of the Piper Tri-Pacer airplane (29 feet) and its tail was “at least” ten or fifteen feet long. The head had a long crest and there was no sign of feathers. Acknowledgements in a recent cryptozoology book (1) includes, “I give specialthanks to Duane Hodgkinson, whose unflinching testimony gave birth to modern living-pterosaur investigations. His account of the 1944 sighting on the mainland of Papua New Guinea helped inspire Carl Baugh’s first expedition of 1993. Ignoring previous ridicule from those who would not listen, Hodgkinson told us of his experience, helping prepare the way for many expeditions . . .” Another cryptozoology book (2) includes, “For years, I had wondered aboutWorld War II veterans who had seen, in New Guinea, now the independent nation of Papua New Guinea, living ‘pterodactyls.’ I hoped the reports were correct, although the Flying-Fox explanation dampened hope. But when I received an email from Duane Hodgkinson, I thrilled in his account of a giant flying creature that was clearly unlike any bird or bat.” Other eyewitnesses, from around the world, have reported large featherless flying creatures, apparent living pterosaurs, most of which are reported with long tails like the one described by Hodgkinson; no other eyewitness, however, has inspired American cryptozoologists to search repeatedly for a flying cryptid in Papua New Guinea, and few other eyewitnesses have appeared so credible to so many of the few who study accounts of living pterosaurs. Hodgkinson’s sighting seems to defy any hoax or misidentification explanation. ###1) Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition, by Jonathan David Whitcomb 2) Searching for Ropens and Finding God, third edition, by Jonathan David Whitcomb The opinions expressed are those of Jonathan David Whitcomb. Media professionals are welcome to use these paragraphs in whole or in part for news distribution. 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