Finding a skeptic has written about the improbability of a modern pterosaur—that does not surprise me. But I do find it refreshing to read something written by a skeptic who accepts that possibility with hope that it is true. How far afield is the negative skeptic who writes with zeal to persuade everybody possible that a modern pterosaur is impossible! What a difference! Quoting from “A Whole New Level of Weirdness” – a book review of Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition:
I want to believe in big flying dinosaurs roaming the skies, but experience and common sense argue against it. So far I have never been chased by one as I wander through town. . . . First surprise is technically they were not dinosaurs at all . . . Secondly there were incredibly diverse, and many of them looked nothing like the beasties I think of when I hear the word “Pterosaur.”
The reviewer then relates what he found online, that pterosaurs were “definitely extinct,” many millions of years ago. The point I enjoyed reading was about what he did after reading that oft-repeated obituary: He searched for accounts of people who had been “chased by pterodactyls!” That is when he learned about the “’Living Pterosaur’ research community, a fringe even within cryptozoology.” That is when he discovered, ordered, and read Live Pterosaurs in America.
This long book review is more positive than negative (see the link below: “A Whole New . . .”). The reader took a critical look, reading both my writings and those of critics of living-pterosaur investigations. Rather than write more about this book review, I quote from my book:
Introduction to Book
. . . We need to understand why we believe what we believe. When I first began researching these . . . sightings, years ago, I mentioned a word to a kindergartner: “pterosaurs;” he said, “A comet.” Years later, while writing this book, I mentioned my work to a second-grader; she said, “Who will buy your book? Crazy people?” I think better of you. And I think, because of what she and many others have told me, that we must understand indoctrination, for it influences our beliefs . . .
Chapter Two – California Sightings
When I returned from Papua New Guinea, in 2004, I knew almost nothing about reports of apparent pterosaurs, or “dragons,” in California. I was convinced of the reality of long-tailed ropens of the southwest Pacific, but assumed they live there because of the vast tropical wildernesses, providing them warmth, food, and seclusion. I also assumed that the few reports that I had read—apparent pterosaurs in some of the 48 States—were of a few stragglers from Central America. But after publishing many web pages about living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea, I received emails and phone calls from eyewitnesses: sightings in California, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland-Virginia border, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Washington State. I became a believer in American pterosaurs.
The greatest danger facing innovators, rebels, and those who search for living pterosaurs—that’s a newspaper. National newspapers ignored the success of the Wright brothers (their December, 1903, successful powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina). News reporters and editors, many of them, assumed that the controlled powered-flight of two bicycle mechanics was a lie, that it never happened. Even as late as 1908, many newspaper professionals thought the Wright brothers “better liars than flyers.” After all, a well-funded government-sponsored flying machine had crashed only a few days before the Wright brothers were said to have first flown. But lack of news reporting and abundance of lie-insinuations can relate to both flying machines and flying pterosaurs, even those called “dragons.”
Modern pterosaur eyewitnesses often report a structure at the end of the long tail of the flying creature, with different witnesses using different words for the structure . . .
I vaguely recall having a book as a child in which there was a picture, daguerreotype style, of some cowboys holding a shot pterodactyl by a barn. Actually I soon found out, chatting about with friends on Facebook, that I may have be suffering from a False Memory . . .
“A huge Rhamphorhynchus-like flying entity . . . grabbed my attention . . . flying . . . close enough it could’ve been shot down. I had ran to the door and about . . . lost my breath in disbelief. Had an estimated wingspan of 8-12 feet and a tail . . . with a large bulb or lump at the tail very diamond shaped. . .”