"Radar Criticism" of
Having received another "radar criticism," as I call it, against the investigations of apparent living-pterosaurs, I respond
in more detail. Although this kind of criticism seems to me one of the weakest, for those who have lived their lives in large cities
near international airports it may appear relevant. One version, from one critic, states that radar can "spot a flock
of birds, yet no pterosaurs ever." Another critic has said that, "they'd show up on radar
." I'll take the case.
implies that radar stations sometimes pick up a flock of birds but they never pick up a giant pterosaur. I'll stipulate my agreement
to the bird-part but I contest the pterosaur-part. I've encountered the "radar" objection before, but none of the "radar
critics" have ever given me a reason for that belief, the belief that radar has disproven modern pterosaurs. Have the critics
constantly monitored all radar stations for decades? Have all radar operators, for over half
a century, been trained to recognize
giant-pterosaur blips or lack-of-giant-pterosaur-blips?
When a flock of birds causes a blip on a radar screen, how is that blip
interpreted? Aside from the speed of those birds, it seems reasonable that radar operators would recognize a few other signs that
would point to a bird-flock interpretation. But the point is that flocks of birds are common and obviously not airplanes (which are
the principle purpose of radar detection).
Should a giant pterosaur cause a blip on a radar screen, how would that blip be interpreted?
As a giant pterosaur? No! And if the radar were accurate enough to make it obvious that the blip was not a common
bird or flock of birds, what then? The operator would probably soon realize it was not an airplane; the blip would then be interpreted
as an unusual little flock of birds. According to standard ways of interpreting radar blips, what else could the operator do? The
point here is that a giant pterosaur that would cause a blip on a radar screen would not cause a radar operator to telephone a newspaper
to report a giant pterosaur.
In addition, my experience as a writer (trying, for years, to convince the Western world that
some pterosaurs are still living) leads me to believe that a radar blip would not cause newspaper headlines about giant living pterosaurs
. . . not even if I were the news reporter, editor, and media king.
What percentage of the earth's surface is within two
miles of a large airport? Not much! More to the point, the places where giant ropens have been reported to fly are, in large part,
in the Southwest Pacific, especially in Papua New Guinea, and very little of that land area is covered by radar detection. I could
go on, but it appears sufficient: Radar was not designed to prove the nonexistence of modern pterosaurs, even if the operators were
prepared to put it to that use.
Reply to another Critic
By Jonathan D. Whitcomb
Author of "Searching for Ropens"