Reply to the Site
Should an average person read only two or three web pages
criticizing living-pterosaur reports (and never read any of
reports themselves), it might seem obvious
that no modern "pterodactyl" could exist. This is a reply to
one of those criticisms, for
the "Prehistoric Reptiles" page
that seems to refute the concept of modern pterosaurs is
without scientific justification and without
It begins with a straw man argument: "The biggest fallacy
in the cryptozoological community is the idea that, because
some sighted animal bears a resemblance to one which existed millions of years before, it must be a survivor of
that ancient species."
I have worked with cryptozoologists
for years, analyzed eyewitness reports, and even explored
a remote tropical wilderness. I don't
recall ever hearing a
fellow investigator conclude that what an eyewitness reports to us "must be" (because of "some sighted animal")
the same species as that of a fossil that standard-model supporters assert is ancient. The critic seems to make a straw-man argument;
it is irrelevant. Look to the testimonies.
This critic make no mention of any particular report, no
mention of any particular eyewitness;
I will do so (in "Part
Two"). But first I will correct what seem to be a few errors
The critic says "the ropen
is . . . from islands just off of Papua New Guinea." It is true that many reports come from
Umboi Island, which is close to the New
but pterosaur-like creatures are reported around Indonesia and Australia. Also, eyewitnesses report them on islands
such as Bougainville and New Britain, and even the Philippines.
It is true that much attention has been drawn to the grave
of the past. But I dispute that it "behaves much
like a massive vulture." Careful consideration of reports
indicates that just a few
grave robberies (happening many years ago) could have been repeated: hand-me-down stories. But our eyewitness reports indicate that
the ropen relies on fish or other food from reefs. It seems that apparent modern pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific now rob graves
rarely, if at all, and it may have been only a few of them that ever did attain that behavior. The critic seems to rely on rumors
third-hand accounts, and then speculates on those; but my associates and I analyze testimonies of those who have seen the ropen
themselves (indirect accounts, although of value at times, I acknowledge as indirect, although my critics appear
to ignore the difference).
The critic mentions the glow of the ropen. He then gives his opinion that barn owls can glow; I agree with him. But why not mention
the man who published the book that revealed this to the world? Is it because F. F. Silcock (of Australia) gave clear evidence that
barn owls have intrinsic bioluminescence? This author refuted the hypothesis that barn owls glow because they pick up luminescent
bacteria from hollow trees. Yet the critic uses this refuted idea so that it can be used to explain the ropen's glow. I find this
curious: The critic, in his next sentence, declares that he doubts the existence of the ropen. Really! (He took so much trouble to
explain its existence.)
See "Part Two" Eyewitness Testimonies
Reply to a Critic
(Straw man Criticism)
By Jonathan D. Whitcomb
native eyewitnesses of the giant ropen of Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea
What do the flying
lights of Umboi Island, Tawa Village, and Salamaua have in common? In each of these areas of Papua
New Guinea, natives ascribe the
lights to a large flying creature.
The idea that no pterosaur fossil has been found above the Mesozoic
strata cannot be used as if evidence against living pterosaurs.
The above silhouettes of bats, birds, and pterosaurs were shown to Umboi Island natives in late 2004. Eyewitnesses of the giant ropen,
or distant ropen lights, were candid about the limitations of what they saw. Very few of them could make out any wings or shape. In
fact, only two eyewitnesses who compared the silhouettes (with what they had seen) were able to make out wing-shape. But
both chose the Sordes Pilosus (pterosaur). See Interview Methods of Guessman & Woetzel.
Duane Hodgkinson has been interviewed
several times by living-pterosaur investigators. But critics rarely mention any details about this man's account. Perhaps most critics
only want to discredit the idea of modern pterosaurs. But expeditions and investigations continue.
Jonathan Whitcomb is the author
of "Searching for Ropens," 2nd edition, nonfiction.