Few newspaper professionals are willing to stand up for an idea that many readers would find unbelievable: modern living pterosaurs. But Terence Aym has done just that, with an article in the Salem-News (August 12, 2010): “Dinosaurs Found Alive.” I am grateful for his support of these investigations in cryptozoology.
But I found a number of problems in his article, serious inaccuracies.
Regarding Jim Blume and David Woetzel, Mr. Aym said, “both men have personally witnessed the soaring creatures—and Woetzel even shot some video footage of one.” Actually neither Blume nor Woetzel saw any form or features of anything that directly suggested a living pterosaur, and Woetzel never videotaped a ropen, not even the glowing object that he saw flying towards Lake Pung on Umboi Island.
I am grateful that Mr. Aym put a link to my web page on David Woetzel’s 2004 sighting of a ropen light. But I don’t know how he misunderstood the reference to video. Mr. Aym wrote that Woetzel “recorded images with his video camera.” But my web page (that he uses as a reference for his declaration) says, “My sighting was so quick that it was impossible to get a video . . .” That’s a quotation, the words that David Woetzel used to explain why he was UNABLE to get a video.
I appreciate Mr. Aym’s enthusiasm, but he seems to have gotten carried away with his desires for our success.
Refering to those who explored in Papua New Guinea, searching for the ropen and interviewing eyewitnesses (I am one of those cryptozoologists, although I am not mentioned in the article), Mr. Aym wrote, “they have seen them firsthand.” Well, most of the American explorers have seen what we call a “ropen light,” that is true, but what American or Australian has seen the form and features of a ropen? At least up until recently, not those who were searching for ropens.
In general, it’s those Americans or Australians who were just fortunate enough to witness one of them because they happened to be at the right place at the right time. Searching for ropens for two or three weeks has not yet rewarded us with the clear sightings, those encounters that make it obvious that the ropen is a pterosaur.
If you want to witness a clear sighting of a living pterosaur, spend most of your time outdoors, watching for them, for the rest of your life, near where you live. That will make it more likely you’ll see a ropen than if you travel to Papua New Guinea to search for them for two or three weeks.
Of course there is a quicker way to encounter living pterosaurs. Consider eyewitness reports, with an open mind, for of the billions of humans on this planet, a tiny portion of them have both witnessed an obvious pterosaur and reported it to a cryptozoologist, and that portion of our species makes a significant number of reports.
The discovery that bones from an Acrocanthosaurus and a Triceratops, not to mention several other types, were alive and part of living dinosaurs only tens of thousands of years ago—that astonishing discovery was met with immediate . . . censorship.
The misidentification of a Manta ray oceanic fish does not adequately explain any significant pterosaur sighting . . . The skeptic implies that Mr. Kuhn was mistaken about almost everything, but that he was correct about the general shape of the wings. How unscientific!
I am grateful that some news professionals have written and published some details of living-pterosaur investigations. Whether in a prodigious newspaper like the Houston Chronicle or a small weekly community paper like the Antwerp Bee-Argus . . .
A Smithsonian blog post (Oct 16, 2010) by Brian Switek dismisses both the ropen of Papua New Guinea and any hope for any living dinosaur or pterosaur. He does so with the phrase “ropen myth,” ignoring all major evidences that favor a living animal.