For years, the kongamato of Africa (literally “overturner of canoes”) has been known as a cryptid that resembles, in at least some reports, a surviving pterosaur. Of course not every creature that overturns a canoe on a river in Africa needs to be an “overturner of canoes;” the hippopatomus and crocodile can do that. Of course not every flying thing that frightens natives in Africa needs to be a modern pterosaur; but featherless flying creatures with very long tails resemble Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs far more than they resemble any classified bird or bat.
The kongamato eyewitness reports should be examined in context with other sightings. For example, the Gitmo Pterosaur, with a long tail but no feathers, may be related, notwithstanding the Atlantic Ocean separates Cuba from Africa. The ropen of Papua New Guinea, also with a long tail but no feathers, may also be related, notwithstanding the Indian Ocean separates the southwest Pacific from Africa. Similarities in the descriptions of flying creatures should not cause us to question the credibility of eyewitnesses. How much better to question Western dogma about pterosaur extinction!
The Houston Chronicle dismissed the possibility that any “dinosaur” is now flying in Texas, ending their newspaper article with, “I encourage Mr. Whitcomb to come to Marfa and spend six months there before he says anything more about dinosaurs.” The problem with that “encouragement” is simple: My press release that sparked the Houston Chronicle article said nothing about dinosaurs; it mentioned the possibility that Marfa Lights are caused by bioluminescent flying predators and that maybe those creatures are like the ropen of Papua New Guinea, which is believed by some to be a live pterosaur.
But “giant bat” is not really a reasonable explanation. In Papua New Guinea, the Flying Fox fruit bat is large, it is true; but that bat is huge only in comparison with most of the bats. The “ropen” is much larger, with some of the reports suggesting a wingspan greater than twenty-five feet. No fruit bat has a wingspan much greater than six feet at the very most. And the ropen is said to eat fish on reefs at night. It uses its bioluminescence to attract the fish. Also telling is the tail of the ropen. According to the World War II veteran Duane Hodgkinson, the creature he saw had a tail “at least 10-15 feet” long.
Perhaps the long-tailed featherless flying creature (called “kongamato” in Africa) is not as large as its counterpart in Papua New Guinea, but it certainly resembles a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur more than any bat or bird known to Western science.