Criticism of living-pterosaur reports, part two


Please consider the details from eyewitness testimonies of apparent modern-pterosaurs; the alternative is either total ignorance of the subject or unending vacillation between images of giant mutated bats, giant bioluminescent pelicans, and international hoax-conspiracies. Truth is more simple.

Duane Hodgkinson was a weather observer during his military service in 1944. He had lived on a farm in the midwestern United States, during his teenage years, before World War II. As he and his army buddy entered the jungle clearing, just west of Finschhafen (on the mainland of what was then called New Guinea), on a clear day, nothing much looked strange. The grass was about two feet high and some large ants were crawling on a nearby log; the two men were looking at those ants, for they were bigger than any seen back in the States. The point is that nothing prevented Hodgkinson from getting a feel for the size of that clearing: the other side was about 100 feet away: an ordinary little clearing. . . . almost.
What happened next was not, at first, extraordinary: A wild pig, probably startled by the human intrusion, ran through the grass nearby. Then followed the epitome of strangeness: On the far side of that clearing, something was startled by that pig, something that flew up into the air, revealing a wingspan of close to thirty feet. Hodgkinson was fascinated by the long horn-like appendage at the back of the creature's head, yes, "creature," for it was obviously not a bird taking flight. It flew out of view briefly, but returned, perhaps to gaze at the two strange beings who gazed back from the clearing.
Many interviews, many years later, have gleaned more details from Hodgkinson's experience: the "pterodactyl" (labeled so, right after it flew away) was dark and had a long pointed beak and a long neck; the tail was long, too: at least ten or fifteen feet; there was no evidence of feathers. But how critical is the distance between the men and the creature, and how! At 100 feet away, the farm boy could hardly have badly mistaken the size of the creature. Besides, without feathers it was no bird, and with a very long tail it was no bat: very strange.
What could be more extraordinary than this 1944 sighting? It is that many eyewitnesses relate encounters with a large or giant pterosaur-like creature around the Southwest Pacific. These accounts come not from hallucination, for eyewitnesses come from different countries, from different cultures, and from different educational backgrounds (they would not all hallucinate the same thing). Accounts come not from hoaxes, for most of those who have spent the most time searching for a modern pterosaur (commonly called "ropen") have seen little or nothing that would directly show that what they had seen was a pterosaur (hoaxes normally involve maybe one or two proponents who lie that they saw what they did not; many explorers who say they saw almost nothing--those are not hoaxers). Accounts come not from any mental health issues, for insanity does not cause persons of different backgrounds to describe similar appearances and activities of an animal; besides, one of those eyewitnesses is Mr. Brian Hennessy, a professional psychologist who works at a medical university:
a poor candidate for insanity.

Could Hodgkinson have exaggerated the length of the tail of the "pterodactyl?" Half a century after this encounter on the mainland of New Guinea, on a small island to the north, seven boys (around ten to fourteen years old) climbed up to a  crater lake near their village on Umboi Island. Soon after they had arrived, a giant "ropen" flew over the lake, and the boys ran home in terror. About ten years later (in 2004), in their own village, I interviewed three of those young men. Gideon Koro told me about the tail of the ropen: seven meters long (22 feet). Even if this was greatly exaggerated, the tail of the creature he saw was extraordinarily long. In addition, Gideon told me that the ropen had no feathers. (No bird, no bat.)

Return to "Part One" (Reply to critic of "Prehistoric Reptiles") or see "Part Three" (Giant ropens and Radar Criticism)
Reply to a Critic
 By Jonathan D. Whitcomb
Author of "Searching for Ropens"
Ropens Home Page
More about the World War II veteran Duane Hodgkinson
Modern Living Pterodactyls
Objective Evaluation of the Eyewitness Reports
Modern Pterosaurs
Carl Baugh and Paul Nation searched for the glowing ropen of Papua New Guinea
The first paragraph of the web page "Prehistoric Reptiles" seems to be an attempt to convince the reader that there would be nothing strange about a modern creature that greatly resembles an ancient creature but was unrelated to it. But both the evolutionists (supporters of standard models) and religious creationists, that is, almost all scientists, would look at a newly discovered living dinosaur or pterosaur as a descendant of creatures closely related to fossils that greatly resembled those living creatures. The Coelacanth, for example, has always been recognized as being descended from Coelacanths that left fossils. The web author of "Prehistoric Reptiles" seems to be dogmatically shielding the General Theory of Evolution from any loss of credibility; but this attempt is obviously radical to the point of being untenable.
Cryptozoology is the study of "hidden" or unclassified but possibly real living creatures that are called "cryptids." The ropen of Papua New Guinea is one of those cryptids. But this apparent modern-pterosaur has other names: indava, duwas, seklo-bali, and wawanar. Some of the investigators who have explored remote jungles for a possible view of the reclusive ropen are: Paul Nation, Garth Guessman, Jonathan Whitcomb, David Woetzel, and Carl Baugh.

Duane Hodgkinson (Montana)