Glen Kuban and Modern Pterosaurs

By the investigative journalist Jonathan Whitcomb

Introduction

Which two nonfiction writers have dominated the field of living pterosaurs, at least in the volume of paragraphs published online? A casual search will reveal that Glen Kuban and I, in our combined writings, appear to dominate all other online writers in the world combined. A passion for writing on reports of non-extinct “pterodactyls”—that is what we have in common. We also have both stated that the official scientific discovery of a species of living pterosaur would be a wonderful event.

But the value we place on the overall eyewitness reports of modern pterosaurs—that is about as different as can be imagined. We agree that a 19th century newspaper account of an ancient flying creature stumbling out of a tunnel in France should not be taken seriously, but we agree on little else.

Be aware that I am not criticizing his motivations, and I do not imply that 100% of his writings on reports of living pterosaurs are completely worthless. I do suspect that a large part of his writings, however, may do more harm than good for the progress of real science, notwithstanding he thinks that he is protecting sound scientific practices.

Criticizing Books on Living Pterosaurs

I now have three active books on Amazon, on eyewitness reports of these featherless flying creatures, in their most-recent editions:

  1. Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition)
  2. Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition)
  3. The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur (recent book)

Over the years, Kuban seems to have purchased one of each of those books from Amazon. For each of those books, he has written a long, very negative comment. He has a right to his own opinion, but some of what he writes on those Amazon pages is about things that are not actually in the books in question.

Take The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur. This is for children and young teenagers. Obviously Mr. Kuban did not purchase a copy of this book for his own enjoyment. He spent his own money on it, so he has a right to publish his opinion about it. Yet an average reader of that book review can be completely mislead by it.

This book has nothing to do with religion. It mentions nothing about Biblical creation or any Christian perspective or any religious view of the origin of life. Yet the book review Kuban wrote about it, on January 31, 2019, included the following:

. . . many young-Earth creationists (YECs) such as Whitcomb often disregard this, however, Whitcomb’s claims are not even endorsed by any major creationist . . . group . . .

In other words, Glen Kuban appears to be attacking me, or at least criticizing me, on a subject that is outside the book. I thought that a book review was supposed to be about a book.

Beyond that, however, he declares things that are simply false. For example, he refers to a six-year-old girl who encountered what she declared was a “pterodactyl.” That little American girl is where the book gets its title: The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur. But Kuban calls her a “Cuban” girl. Perhaps that’s no big deal, for Patty’s family was living at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, at the time. But there’s more.

He points out that the little girl did not draw a sketch of the flying creature until decades after the sighting. I see the point. Maybe some kind of mistake was made because of that. But consider the second chapter of the book: “A Sighting by a U.S. Marine.” Eskin Kuhn saw two “pterodactyls” at Guantanamo Bay just a few years after the sighting by the little girl, and he drew his sketch within MINUTES of his encounter. Nothing is mentioned in Kuban’s book review about Mr. Kuhn. Nothing is said about that sketch, which is obviously of the same kind of flying creature sketched by Patty Carson, when we consider that both sightings were at Guantanamo Bay.

two sketches of pterosaurs by two eyewitnesses

Sketch by a U.S. Marine (left) and one by Patty Carson (right)

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I could go on, for Glen Kuban has made many mistakes and errors of judgment in his review of my book The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur, but I’ll leave it at that, for now.

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Glen Kuban and Living Pterosaurs

Please consider the following, before I respond to a small portion of the negative comments that Glen Kuban has made about my writings. Not all of his writings are about me or my publications, but many of them are.

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Modern Pterosaurs

About worldwide sightings of living pterosaurs

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Living-pterosaur criticisms from Glen Kuban

Kuban, during the years that he has published online criticisms of eyewitness accounts of living pterosaurs, has never interviewed even one eyewitness. His general practice is to take what he finds online or in books and, without asking me for clarifications, he then finds anything and everything that he thinks might discredit the sighting; then he publishes it. That is what his tens of thousands of words have shown to me.

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Book on flying dinosaurs

This is for middle grade and young-teenage readers, this nonfiction about non-extinct pterosaurs that appear to eyewitnesses worldwide.

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Glen Kuban criticizes Jonathan Whitcomb

Glen Kuban and I completely disagree on the value of eyewitness testimonies of flying creatures that have been reported to me as living pterosaurs, what some people call “pterodactyls” or “flying dinosaurs” or “dragons.” He has spent years trying to convince people that all the testimonies are of no value; I have spent years writing books and online publications explaining why some of them are of great value.

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Books on living pterosaurs

Short book reviews of five non-fictions:

  • Searching for Ropens and Finding God
  • Bird From Hell
  • Live Pterosaurs in America
  • The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur
  • Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea

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"The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur"

“Flying dinosaur” book for kids and teens

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Ropen Seen by Duane Hodgkinson

By living-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb

Over the past thirteen years, I’ve often written about the pterosaur sighting by Duane Hodgkinson. My associates and I consider his sighting report to be one of the more important ones in our field of cryptozoology.

Why do I mention his ropen sighting again? The skeptical writings of Glen Kuban need to be answered, for his recent remarks about Duane Hodgkinson can be extremely misleading, even if Kuban is sincere and even if he has never been dishonest. Indeed, he seems to me to have mislead himself, but I’ll save that subject for later.

“Living Pterosaurs” by Glen Kuban

As of late October, 2017, this web page is enormous: According to Character-Count-Online, it has 229,223 characters, which is more text than is found in many books. At 5.1 characters per average word, “Living Pterosaurs” would have almost 45,000 words, but it seems that Kuban sometimes uses longer words: Character-Counter-Online reveals his online publication has only 36,273 words. Take it in context: Many web pages and blog posts have between 100 and 400 words.

What’s the relevance? This web page is apparently orchestrated to convince people of one or more of the following:

  1. Living-pterosaur cryptozoological investigations have failed
  2. Eyewitness reports of non-extinct pterosaurs have practically no value
  3. “Creationists” who believe in living pterosaurs are wrong
  4. All pterosaur species are extremely likely to have become extinct many millions of years ago

So what’s wrong with those points? In Western societies, mass extinctions of all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs are taken for granted. Axioms of standard paleontology are trumpeted into our ears since early childhood, so what’s wrong with somebody publishing a web page portraying that all pterosaurs are extinct? It’s the many hundreds of paragraphs. “The lady doth protest too much.”

If the investigations into eyewitness reports of apparent living pterosaurs are as worthless as Kuban portrays them to be, then why did he write and publish a web page that is about 100 times as large as a typical web page on the internet? Why has he gone to such enormous trouble to convince people of what the vast majority of Westerners take for granted: the idea that all species of pterosaurs are long extinct? Surely part of the reason is because somewhere deep down he has come to doubt that extinction axiom and is trying to convince himself that my associates and I are completely wrong.

Duane Hodgkinson — Eyewitness of a Living Pterosaur (LP)

Before reading any part of Glen Kuban’s web page, please be aware of the following:

  • Kuban probably never communicated with Hodgkinson
  • Kuban possibly never interviewed ANY LP eyewitness
  • Kuban is NOT a cryptozoologist

With the above three points in mind, after reading the following feel free to visit Kuban’s “Living Pterosaur” web page, for you’ll then be better prepared to be objective in comparing our differing opinions about the possibility of living pterosaurs.

Garth Guessman and I have interviewed Duane Hodgkinson extensively with independent interviews. Guessman and I understand what this World War II veteran told us about his army buddy, the other man who also saw the huge “pterodactyl.”

To the best of my (Jonathan Whitcomb) knowledge, that army buddy never did anything like deny seeing a giant pterodactyl except within the first few seconds or minutes of their sighting. Nothing in our interviews with Hodgkinson indicate anything other than the following:

The army buddy was adamant about not wanting to talk about the encounter. He never denied that they had seen a pterosaur, in the usual sense of denying something. He never said anything that would suggest there was any bird or any bat involved. He simply insisted that he would keep quiet about what they had seen. In other words, he made it clear that he would never admit that they had seen a gigantic living pterosaur.

In other words, it’s quite possible that, after leaving that jungle clearing, the buddy never mentioned the encounter, preferring to keep quiet about it for the rest of his life.

Now see what Kuban says in the October 7th version of “Living Pterosaurs:”

“Hodgkinson’s friend and fellow witness to the incident was a biologist, and denies that they ever saw a pterosaur.”

Take that in context. Kuban apparently never communicated with either Hodgkinson or the army buddy. Guessman and I have interviewed Hodgkinson, and it was clear to us what the veteran said about the buddy who had no desire to tell anybody that they had seen a living pterosaur the size of a small airplane. The denial was ONLY immediately after the sighting, and nothing was said by that buddy about any possibility of any misidentification.

In other words, that buddy preferred to pretend that they had seen nothing at all. If anyone has interviewed that man, I would be interested to know what he said, but all we have to go on, for now, is what Hodgkinson has told us.

Kuban says, “Whitcomb displays a large degree of confirmation bias here, by fully trusting Hodgkinson’s word and memory, while dismissing without basis the testimony of his more scientifically knowledgeable friend.” Yet Kuban never seems to have interviewed either eyewitness, and Guessman and I have interviewed the only one who has, apparently, ever been interviewed regarding this sighting in 1944.

Kuban seems to have completely missed the point that seems perfectly clear to me and to Guessman: The army buddy had no intention of setting himself up for ridicule. Why would any soldier want to be laughed at and made to look like a fool?

Do Guessman and I, who have personally interviewed Hodgkinson, have a bias that is more severe than that of Kuban, who has apparently never interviewed anyone? Let’s look at this logically:

If the buddy was indeed “more scientifically knowledgeable,” as Kuban says he was, then why is no mention ever made about any possible misidentification? Why did neither of the eyewitnesses, apparently, ever say anything about any misidentified bird or bat? Only one explanation do I see here: Almost any person with education in science who saw a strange bird or bat in a jungle clearing, and who had a companion who said that it was a pterodactyl, would say SOMETHING about the possibility that it was a bird or a bat. Why did that “scientifically knowledgeable” man insist that they had seen nothing? It’s this: Hodgkinson was right and no bird or bat was involved.

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ropen eyewitness Duane Hodgkinson, a World War II veteran

The late Duane Hodgkinson, who was a flight instructor

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A Psychologist saw a Living Pterosaur

Sighting on Bougainville Island, New Guinea, in 1971, and how it relates to the pterosaur sighting by Duane Hodgkinson

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Nonfiction books for LDS

The nonfiction Searching for Ropens and Finding God was written for readers of all faiths, with astonishing eyewitness accounts from around the world, from ordinary persons from different cultures and religions.

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American soldier sees a “pterodactyl”

Duane Hodgkinson saw a living pterosaur

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Confirmation Bias and Living Pterosaurs

Paiva and I have not declared that it [the apparent pterosaur in a photo] must be a species of Pteranodon. We simply suggest it appears similar. In other words, we have stated something very similar to what Kuban states or implies: It gives some persons the impression that it is like a Pteranodon.

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Books by LDS Authors

This includes the cryptozoology book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (by Jonathan Whitcomb of Murray, Utah).

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Cryptozoology books for Mormons and other Christians

I knew from the beginning that some readers would be LDS, yet I mostly had a broader audience in mind: Christians who had long maintained faith in the Savior of mankind but who had become troubled by the philosophies of the world, in particular indoctrination into the extreme naturalism philosophy . . .

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Confirmation Bias and Living Pterosaurs

By the modern-pterosaur author Jonathan Whitcomb

Glen Kuban has written a long online article: “Living Pterosaurs (Pterodactyls)?” I now acknowledge that he often revises that page, and details that I publish, including quotations, may be seen by him, resulting in corrections that he will make in it. If things continue as they have, in the months of March, April, and May, of 2017, however, the most serious problems in “Living Pterosaurs” will not be much affected by his changes. Why? He continually falls into confirmation bias.

In keeping with his tendency to fall into this kind of error, he has recently fallen into confirmation bias in his writings on the Ptp photograph that the physicist Clifford Paiva and I have been examining. He mentions that the animal in this photo resembles a Pteranodon (apparently meaning it gives some persons that impression), but he gives two lists of reasons why the animal differs from what is now known to paleontologists from fossils of the Pteranodon. He gives those two lists as if they were evidence against that animal being a modern pterosaur.

In reality, Paiva and I have not declared that it must be a species of Pteranodon. We simply suggest it appears similar. In other words, we have stated something very similar to what Kuban states or implies: It gives some persons the impression that it is like a Pteranodon. In compiling those two lists, Kuban believed he was giving people evidence that the animal seen in that photo was not a modern pterosaur. In reality, his two lists are completely irrelevant.

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possibly genuine photo of a 19th-century pterosaur

Kuban himself uses the word “Pteranodon” in his page of criticisms

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The Nature of Confirmation Bias

When a person wants an idea to be true, he or she can be misled by wishful thinking. The person may stop gathering information when the evidence already gathered appears to confirm the views or prejudices he or she would like to be true.

From an objective perspective, a piece of evidence may have a number of possible interpretations, but when someone falls into confirmation bias, that person looks only at an interpretation that fits what he or she wants to be true.

Even when one piece of evidence is actually more likely to fit a person’s desire, it can lead to confirmation bias if that person then refuses to look at any other evidence that could contradict what he or she wants to be true.

Let’s look at one example:

“Very Relevant” Blunder in Glen Kuban’s “Living Pterosaurs” 

The skeptic mentions the use of the word ropen in the village language of the PNG native Jacob Kepas, a Baptist minister. Papua New Guinea has hundreds of local languages. In the village tongue of Pastor Kepas, “ropen” means  bird.

But the skeptic Glen Kuban makes a big mistake in his online article: “This seems like a very relevant piece of information.” It’s more like the opposite: totally irrelevant, unless you believe that a hippopotamus must be a horse that lives in a river.

In the real world, one language often takes a word from another language, but that word can easily change its meaning in the language doing the borrowing. That seems to have happened with the Kovai language of Umboi Island and the local language of the natives of the village where Kepas lived as a child. Which language was first to use the word ropen is unknown, but the other one likely did the borrowing, unless a third language was involved.

For anyone wanting to carry Kuban’s insinuation to its destination, answer this question: Do almost all trees have human hands growing out of them? The answer: No. Since “ropen” in one language means bird, must the word ropen in another language mean bird? No.

As a bird very slightly resembles a modern pterosaur of Umboi Island, a human hand very slightly resembles a branch of a tree. In the Tok Pisin language of Papua New Guinea, the phrase “han bilong diwai” means a tree branch, but word-for-word it appears to say “hand of a tree.” (Han comes from the English word hand.) In other words, that connection between two languages is not evidence that the nocturnal flying creature that glows as it flies over Umboi Island is a species of bird. It is completely IRRELEVANT to the controversy in the Western world over interpretations of eyewitness accounts of apparent modern pterosaurs.

Glen Kuban has again fallen into confirmation bias, expecting to find evidence against extant pterosaurs in modern times, finding something that looks like it may be such evidence, and jumping to the conclusion that it is. Publishing it online, in the long article “Living Pterosaurs”—that practically proves that he did fall into confirmation bias, regarding the word ropen existing in two different languages.

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Confirmation Bias in a Skeptic of the Ptp Photograph

I suggest the writer of that page [BAMPP] has fallen into both confirmation bias and belief perseverance. The combination of the writer’s bias and the extreme length of his online page can cause readers to assume that there must be serious problems with living-pterosaur investigations.

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Pterosaur in an old photograph

I don’t know if the Ptp photograph was from Vicksburg in 1864; that appears to be just an online rumor. But Clifford Paiva and I have examined evidence that it was recorded before about the year 1870 . . .

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Skeptical responses to the Pteranodon photograph

The winged creature with a Pteranodon-like head shown in Figure-1—that was officially declared to be a genuine pterosaur by Clifford Paiva* and me, Jonathan Whitcomb, on January 14, 2017.

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Photograph in the book Modern Pterosaurs

My friend and associate Cliff Paiva suggested I write this little book, after we agreed that the image of an apparent Pteranodon, in an old photograph, was a real animal.

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Are Modern Pterosaurs “Pseudo-Dragons?”

This is a reply to the post “The Pseudo-Dragons of Genesis Park, Part 13” by Owosso Harpist. For the most part, it’s a scathing attack on the online writings of my associate David Woetzel. Yet it refers to living-pterosaur investigations in general and accuses me and my associates of being not only delusional but potentially dishonest, so I must respond.

I am not replying to the whole post, for it is long, but certain mistakes need correcting. I point out these errors, not to imply that everything that Owosso Harpist has written is faulty, but simply to put as much truth as I can before as many online readers as possible.

To the best of my knowledge, Owosso Harpist (a pen name) is an amateur harpist who works part time as a janitor. I do not relate this to ridicule O.H., for I myself worked as a janitor in my younger years. In addition, as a young adult I once played a wind instrument in a duet, for a wedding prelude, in which my sister played a harp similar to the one now played by O.H.; I respect this musical instrument and those who seek to master its use. I relate these things because that’s about all that I know about this person except for the critical writings that include this post “Pseudo-Dragons . . .”

Point by Point Reply to Part of the Post by O.H.

Q: Are creationists deluded, thinking any large flying creature is a pterosaur?

A: Do an online search with apparent pterosaur. Notice that the vast majority of pages are either written by me, Jonathan Whitcomb, or are about one of my books about modern pterosaurs. I often use the phrase “apparent pterosaur” because I recognize that an individual sighting may have come about from something other than a pterosaur.

I have also noticed that some of my associates have also shown caution in their conclusions about individual sighting reports, at least sometimes. I don’t know where O.H. got this idea about extreme bias among creationists, but it appears this critic has not done enough research, at least not with an open mind to the possibility that my associates and I might not always be entirely wrong.

Q: Do “details” in reports indicate sightings are of NON-pterosaurs?

A: O.H. mentions no details, in the first part of her post, but I will do so now: Patty Carson saw a featherless winged creature at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in or around 1965. That flying creature had teeth and a long head crest. It also had a flange at the end of its long tail. Here is the sketch she drew of what she encountered:

sketch by Patty Carson: long-tailed featherless flying creature

If this critic uses the word pterosaur only for precise species known from fossils, I can understand why she might think that eyewitness report details differ from what we know from fossils. But I and my associates use the word pterosaur in a more general sense, meaning we include those modern flying creatures that appear to be descended from pterosaurs that were related to the ones that left fossils that paleontologists have already discovered.

Q: Is “every” report of a living pterosaur “without proof of evidence?”

A: Eyewitness testimony is a form of evidence. In fact there would be no science or scientist without testimonies of human experience. What O.H. may have been thinking about is physical evidence to accompany testimonies.

Yet even there, this critic seems to be thinking only in a narrow sense: a dead or living pterosaur or an egg, perhaps. But the greatest weakness in this critic’s statement about “every” report is this: Owosso Harpist probably has very limited knowledge of the actual sighting reports. Why did she fail to mention the name of Patty Carson or the following names?

  • Brian Hennessy
  • Jacob Kepas
  • Sandra Paradise
  • Eskin Kuhn
  • Peter Beach
  • Evelyn Cheesman
  • Sherry Cooper
  • Professor Steven Watters

Q: Is “every” report “likely” to be from a native who is plagued by superstition?

A: Where does O.H. get that idea? Has that critic observed and listened to my videotaped interviews with natives on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea? I see nothing on this particular post (Pseudo-Dragons . . . Part 13) that supports that possibility. I learned about native superstitions in some villages of Umboi Island. I interviewed natives in three villages, including Gomlongon and Opai. Almost without exception, those witnesses reported details to me that were not part of their superstitions. They simply told me what they had seen.

Q: Have natives “likely” been paid by creationists to give a particular kind of report, in other words “false reports?”

A: Where is the evidence? Where did O.H. get that idea? That may be not far from the worst possible form of bulverism.

Q: Were natives “likely” “coerced” into giving a particular kind of testimony?

A: This speculation has the same weakness as the previous accusation and deserves to be dismissed.

Accuracy in the Duane Hodgkinson Report

Owosso Harpist does point out a real weakness in one of David Woetzel’s web pages. My associate quotes from a book by James B. Sweeney, A Pictorial History of Sea Monsters (1972), which has many mistakes that are not immediately corrected by Woetzel. (See the above link.) But even with all of those mistakes, a person is more likely to learn the truth from those words than from much of what I have seen in the post written by O.H.: “The Pseudo-Dragons of Genesis Park, Part 13.”

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Are Pterosaurs “Still Dead?”

I consider much of these criticisms to be bulverism, which involves changing the subject by trying to point out another person’s weakness. I would be happy to write only about the concept of modern pterosaurs, but the accusations against me need to be addressed.

Dr. Donald Prothero and “Fake Pterosaurs”

For those who go to that link in question, it may become obvious that I was not trying to deceive anybody concerning reports of modern living pterosaurs, including the flying creature called ropen; for those who read only that post by Prothero, however, it can seem like I’ve tried to deceive people about the ropen and that I did so almost single-handedly. Let us look deeper.

A Modern Pterosaur

Countless eyewitnesses, in many countries  across the planet, have pondered what it  was they had seen. But ropens continue to  fly overhead, continuing to shock humans  who had assumed that all pterosaurs had  become extinct millions of years ago.

Ten Year Anniversary of a Ropen Expedition

A few weeks after my expedition on Umboi Island, David Woetzel and Garth Guessman arrived in Papua New Guinea. It’s now been ten years since our two expeditions in 2004, but what we learned from interviewing natives—that still needs more publicity, for few Americans have heard about our discoveries in cryptozoology.

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Who is a Scientist?

Whitcomb at a ropen sighting location in California

Jonathan Whitcomb at a sighting location where he installed a deer camera

I have written one scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal of science. Yes, only one. Most of those honored with the title scientist have written many scientific papers, and those men and women generally have advanced educational degrees. I have no advanced degree in science, yes none. With all that said, however, beware of over-simplistic thinking.

With limited obvious credentials, why do I suggest I am an expert in my specialty, a field most persons would assume is a branch of science? My associates and I are experts in a narrow branch of cryptozoology, namely in sighting reports of modern pterosaurs, and cryptozoology is not considered a branch of zoology. Yet there’s much more.

I have probably spent more hours on this subject than any other person on the planet, over 10,000 hours over the past eleven years. That in itself does not make me a scientist, of course, but that much time can sometimes open the door leading into scientific investigation, and this is the critical question: Have I, Jonathan Whitcomb, stepped through that door?

This is hardly my favorite subject, why I am a scientist. Why do I write about it now? An acclaimed paleontologist recently wrote a post, mostly about me. I will not mention his name here, but he has written more than 30 books and more than 250 scientific papers, according to Wikipedia. That led another writer to also write about me and assume that I am not a scientist. That second post is why I write about how I, Jonathan Whitcomb, can indeed be a scientist.

It was the second writer, who does not appear to be a scientist herself, who wrote, “Whitcomb, who is not a scientist by any stretch,” but let’s confine ourselves to the first post, written by the man who is an undisputed scientist.

It could have been a prized recommendation for my eleven years of work in my field, if only he had said something positive about me; but no, this particular scientist ridiculed my work, concentrating on accusing me of writing dishonestly and inappropriately. He provides no proof of my supposedly shameful motivations, but his sources, in my opinion, are just libelous web pages that also ridicule me as dishonest and underhanded.

If only this particular paleontologist had devoted himself to scientific reasoning, rather than assume I was deceitful and then ridicule my religious beliefs! Unfortunately he avoided anything scientific in his post. Yes, this acclaimed scientist, in that post, said nothing scientific.

I may be more of an investigative reporter than a scientist and certainly more like a journalist than a jurist who judges the honesty of someone on trial. I do not accuse my accusers of dishonesty. But the subject now is science; please consider the following.

I have analyzed statistics from 128 sighting reports, accumulated and recorded systematically at the end of 2012. My analysis revealed three separate factors that each demonstrated it was unlikely that any significant number of hoaxers could have been involved in those 128 eyewitness accounts.

I could say more, but I now submit that this particular part of my work was scientific, using mathematics to gain knowledge about one of the major objections that skeptics had brought up about reported sightings of living pterosaurs. The old hoax-conjecture has been disproven.

I hope that I have never used bulverism, as one paleontologist has done, in ridiculing someone with whom I disagree. I suggest that each of us participate in discussing the issues themselves rather than accusing others of deceit or making fun of other’s religious beliefs. Why should a scientist abandon scientific discussion in diving into dirty politics?

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Richard Syrett interviewed Jonathan Whitcomb for Canadian television showJonathan Whitcomb interviewed by Richard Syrett in 2012

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Is Jonathan Whitcomb a Paleontologist?

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.

“Stupid Dinosaur Lies” or the Truth?

Let me make this plain: I am not accusing the originator of Stupid Dinosaur Lies of deception. I am defending the honesty of me and my associates. That ludicrous sentence with five errors does suggest the writer was more likely to have been careless than dishonest. But the accusations, direct or indirect, are against those of us who have traveled to Papua New Guinea to search for living pterosaurs and those who later reported what was found in eyewitness testimonies.

Modern Pterosaurs and Biology Professors

One of the web pages that caught this professor’s attention was my post “Bioluminescent Pterosaurs in Southwest Washington State.” We need to be clear about the differences between two professors, for Peter Beach has also taught biology but he has no doubt that modern pterosaurs live in the state of Washington and elsewhere.

Long Review of book by Whitcomb

Anyway, do these things really still fly? 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. . . .

I spotted a book “Live Pterosaurs in America” by Jonathan David Whitcomb, a nonfiction analysis of actual sightings in the USA.  This I had to own, so I immediately ordered it from Amazon, and a few days later it was mine! And you know what — I’m glad I bought it, and have enjoyed reading it.

Definition of who is a scientist

A scientist, in a broad sense, is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist may refer to an individual who uses the scientific method.

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Ropen Only Extinct on Wikipedia

Last month, the “Ropen” page was deleted on Wikipedia, apparently with the aid of self-appointed editors, one of whom carelessly deleted a valid entry that would have saved that page from deletion. Nevertheless, one online dictionary has maintained that page, or one very similar to it:

Ropen in an online encyclopedia

On Umboi Island the word “ropen” refers to a large nocturnal creature that glows briefly as it flies. The ropen is the subject of folklore (like a man but also like a spirit) but it’s believed by some natives to be a real animal.

“TheFreeDictionary” is not without problems in the page on ropens. It displays a conservation status (“Vulnerable” with listing “IUCN 3.1”), but the International Union for Conservation of Nature does not show anything online with the word “ropen.” I find the online encyclopedia reference to “vulnerable” interesting but it can be misleading: The ropen is still a cryptid (as of early September, 2014), not officially listed as a living species in biology text books and other resources in biology.

Regarding the definition of “ropen,” that encyclopedia-dictionary quotation is outdated. In my nonfiction Searching for Ropens and Finding God, it is defined thus: “A modern pterosaur with Rhamphorhynchoid characteristics.”

Food for the Ropen (quoting from the appendix of that book)

In the summer of 2007, in clear daylight, a giant ropen appeared to be chasing a flock of birds over a wildlife sanctuary near the University of California at Irvine. That may relate to the two “dragons” reported in California newspapers in 1891, creatures that were also called “pterodactyls.” They were reported to have devoured mudhens in a pond “at two or three champs of the jaws.”

Danger to Humans

Although Marfa Lights in Texas have been occasionally reported to be friendly, a large ropen, in some areas of this planet, would love to take you out, to eat. According to Gerald McIsaac, author of Bird From Hell, people have been attacked in northern British Columbia, sometimes killed, by flying creatures he believes are modern pterosaurs. I’ve read his book and communicated with him for years, and I’ve come to believe he may be right.

Where do Ropens Nest?

In his book Bird From Hell, McIsaac reports a nest encounter in British Columbia. A teenage girl had hiked up a hill alone one summer day and found a large nest with about twenty eggs. As she was about to pick up one of them, a strange creature attacked her, and she ran down the hill and escaped. I read nothing about wings on that creature, but McIsaac believes it was a pterosaur.

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Sep12, 2014, encyclopedia entry for "Ropen"“Encyclopedia-TheFreeDictionary” entry for “Ropen” (Sep 15, 2014)

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Ropen Pterosaur

Many species of pterosaur may have  become extinct, but at least a few of the  two main types have survived. They are  sometimes called “pterodactyls,” “flying  dinosaurs,” “dinosaur birds,” or “dragons.”

Ropen – a Modern Pterosaur

Not only natives have seen this “dragon”  or “pterodactyl” in Papua New Guinea. In  1971 (when the islands were known as  “New Guinea”), the Brian Hennessy, of  Australia, witnessed something strange on  the island of Bougainville: a long-tailed  flying creature that had not a feather in  sight.

Ropen Light Sighting

“My sighting was so quick that it was impossible to get a video—maybe 2 seconds  . . . almost golden and shimmering around the edges. . . . There was no tail and it was flying horizontal from  Mt. Barik toward  Mt. Tolo [on Umboi Island in 2004, a few weeks after the Whitcomb-Paina expedition in that same area of Papua New Guinea].”

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