Fruit Bats and
After mentioning the pterosaur-interpretation, Wikipedia says that “others
suggest that the Ropen is a misidentified bat e.g. flying foxes, which are
large fruit bats than can have wingspans up to two metres (six feet) . . . .”
The problem with the fruit bat misidentification idea, however, becomes
obvious when details of sighting reports are examined, for the Flying Fox
fruit bat has almost no visible tail.
For example, when the Umboi native Jonah Jim was interviewed by Garth
Guessman and David Woetzel, in 2004, he was shown a page of silhouettes
of various species of birds, bats, and pterosaurs. From those thirty-four
images, Jonah Jim chose number thirteen, which was of a Sordes Pilosus, a
Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur. In addition, he saw that the flying creature
was glowing, and he estimated the tail length at two-and-a-half to three
meters (8-9 feet long), eliminating the bat-misidentification idea.
The American World War II veteran Duane Hodgkinson estimated the tail of
the flying creature he had seen: “at least” ten or fifteen feet long. It was no
fruit bat that he and his army buddy had seen in 1944 in New Guinea.
The Australian Brian Hennessy has been a psychologist working in China
for years. In 1971, he saw a “prehistoric” flying creature on Bougainville
Island, New Guinea. It had a “longish narrow tail” and something like a
“horn” coming out the back of its head: far different from a fruit bat.
The opinions expressed are those of Jonathan David Whitcomb.
Media professionals may use these paragraphs in whole or in part for news distribution.
All of the images on this page may also be used by the news media.
on Umboi Island, 2004
Eskin Kuhn’s sketch of one of the
two flying creatures he saw in Cuba
Jonathan Whitcomb interviewed many
natives, including Gideon Koro
Flying Fox Fruit Bat
Mariana Fruit Bat
Public domain photo by Ann Hudgins,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Flying Fox fruit bat is not found in
Cuba, so this was not a misidentified
Megabat of that general type
The eyewitness of this flying creature
sketched what she saw in eastern Cuba
(Patty Carson, more recently a nurse
living in Riverside, California)
According to J. D. Whitcomb, the main
reason some persons assume pterosaur
sightings are misidentified fruit bats is
simple: Those persons have not studied
the details of the eyewitness reports but
only react to the generalities like “big
flying creatures with no feathers.”