I have never suggested that I, Jonathan Whitcomb, am a paleontologist, although I surely know more about pterosaur fossils than the average person on the street. I am an expert on reports of apparent living pterosaurs, commonly called pterodactyls by the eyewitnesses. In other words, I am a cryptozoologist.
I’ve received emails from eyewitnesses from four continents plus islands in the Pacific, emails about flying creatures that resemble “primitive” or “prehistoric” animals more than any bird or bat. On occasion I am able to talk with an eyewitness by phone or by face-to-face interview. One critical point here, unappreciated by some paleontologists, is that those eyewitnesses come from various countries and have different backgrounds and beliefs, including differing religious beliefs. Why is that critical? Significant similarities in the descriptions include featherless appearances, a cone-like appendage at the back of the head, and a long tail, sometimes described with a “diamond” at tail-end.
What about the fossil experts, in particular those paleontologists who ridicule the possibility of living pterosaurs? They know about individual creatures that have died, those few rare individuals that left evidence of their existence in fossils. I believe that’s what paleontology is about. So how much do those few critics know about eyewitness reports? Very little, it seems. Some like to generalize and imagine misidentifications of common birds and bats; rarely does a paleontologist even acknowledge a particular sighting, a real encounter with some flying creature.
Jonathan David Whitcomb, cryptozoologist
Expeditions in Papua New Guinea
One paleontologist has visited Papua New Guinea once, to my knowledge, on an expedition supposedly for discovering a modern pterosaur. That was the television-show expedition production of Monsterquest, the episode showing several westerners, and many natives, on the island of New Britain. Consider what is written in the nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition, by Whitcomb) regarding that paleontologist:
Consider the words of a paleontologist who participated in an expedition for Monsterquest. He explained his opinion, why a pterosaur is not likely still living: “It flies; they would have been seen by lots of people.” Well, if only 1% of the encounters gave some kind of impression of a pterosaur or dragon appearance, that’s 70,000 persons: “lots of people” indeed, in my opinion.
I extol the participation of my friend and associate Garth Guessman, in his part in the Monsterquest expedition; he believes in the reality of living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere, as I do. But that paleontologist hardly seems like an ideal person to take on a search for an extant pterosaur.
Here are some of the Americans who have sincerely searched for the ropen (apparent long-tailed pterosaur) in Papua New Guinea:
- Garth Guessman
- David Woetzel
- Jonathan Whitcomb
- Paul Nation
- Nathanael Nation
- Carl Baugh
Two associates of Whitcomb: David Woetzel (left) and Garth Guessman (bottom), on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, 2004
More about paleontologists
Consider the following from Searching for Ropens and Finding God:
. . . but paleontologists, those thought to be the greatest experts on pterosaur fossils—they consider it almost impossible for one of those species to be alive, and the key point is “almost.” I have learned that critical detail from communicating with a few paleontologists and from reading what a few of them think about reports of modern pterosaurs.
I have also seen the results of a survey of biology professors from some of the largest universities in the western United States. Of the few that responded to the questionnaire, the probability of a species of living pterosaur was put at 0% to 5%, with an average of 1.5%. Half of those professors who responded believed it was very unlikely but possible.
In other words, not all paleontologists and biology professors are completely convinced that all species of pterosaurs much have become extinct. That is far from what some critics and skeptics have said in deriding the work of those of us who still hope for a wonderful scientific discovery. Please keep up your hope in a discovery.
The title is “Jonathan Whitcomb: Pterodactyl Expert,” although the one that appears guilty of libel spells it . . . I don’t mean to imply that everything on this forum thread is without merit. But all commentators except the one initiating the discussion appear to me to practice bulverism rather than comment on any specific sentence that I have written.
Does a live pterodactyl fly over villages of some southwest Pacific islands? Many testimonies suggest nocturnal long-tailed creatures (called “Rhamphorhynchoids” by some) having names like “ropen” and “duwas” (Don’t confuse with “duah,” a Western mistake), live in coastal areas of the mainland of Papua New Guinea, as well as on the islands of Umboi and Manus.
I was delighted with the two hour interview I had with the two hosts of the Monster X Radio online broadcast: “Johnny Bigfoot” and Shane Corson. We did not get into any details about the Marfa Lights of Texas, but we did discuss the bioluminescent-pterosaur concept, and Susan Wooten mentioned her experiences watching the Bingham Lights of South Carolina.
Live Pterosaurs in America and also Searching for Ropens and Finding God
Nonfiction cryptozoology/inspirational book