Criticism of living-pterosaur reports, part one

 Reply to the Site
"Prehistoric Reptiles"

Should an average person read only two or three web pages
criticizing living-pterosaur reports (and never read any of
the eyewitness 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 clear logic.

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
or oversimplifications.

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 Guinea mainland;
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
robberies 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 or
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
Ropens Home Page
native eyewitnesses of the giant ropen of Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea
Ropen Bioluminescence
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.
"Younger Than Mesozoic"
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.