Apparent-pterosaur sketches compared

two sketches, by Aaron Tullock and Eskin KuhnWhat can we learn by comparing the sketch by Aaron Tullock to the one by Eskin Kuhn? First we need to compare the sightings and the reporting of those sightings. Then we’ll examine the two sketches.

Aaron Tullock’s 1995 sighting of an apparent pterosaur was in Marion County, Texas. He drew a color sketch, showing a number of details described in his words; he drew in the common style, in which the mental image is not used directly but interpretted subconsiously first: “left brain” drawing. [see top image]

Eskin Kuhn’s 1971 sighting of two apparent pterosaurs was at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Soon afterwards he drew a sketch in realistic style (but not, apparently, to show realistic color), for he is a talented artist. This technique of sketching has been referred to as “right brain” drawing. [see bottom image]

Mr. Tullock made no immediate formal report of his 1995 sighting, for he was only eight years old; who would have taken him seriously? He reported his sighting to me in 2009 (I interviewed him in January, 2010), and that throws light on the reliability of his experience. Why? Childish imaginings do not usually remain misunderstood after a person grows into adulthood; even what is vividly imagined will normally become revealed as imagination as a person matures. My communications with Mr. Tullock revealed no symptom of any abnormality related to potential hallucination or delusion, and I have had adequate experience with those with that kind of problem. I believe that Mr. Tullock observed a flying creature with features basically the same or similar to those that he described to me.

Mr. Kuhn revealed his sighting years ago, and his sketch (of two pterosaurs) has been online for some time. I surprised him with a phone call early in 2010. His communications with me convinced me of his honesty. I believe that he observed creatures with features basically the same or similar to those that he described to me.

So why do the sketches show details both similar and dissimilar? A long tail on a featherless flying creature is obvious, as is the Rhamphorhynchoid flange at the end of the tail. On the other hand, the difference in the feet are striking, as is the difference between the heads (including teeth and lack thereof), and the general coloration. Although the drawing style is very different, in this case that has little relevance, for the differences reveal much more. Before giving the obvious explanation, I need to explain something.

For six years, I have interviewed eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs. People of various beliefs, languages, and cultures have reported to me what they have seen in various countries around the world. I have written two books on living pterosaurs and a scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal of science. I dare say that nobody else has written hundreds of web pages and blog posts on living pterosaurs, not that I am more intelligent than anybody else; perhaps I am stubborn and outspoken. But my experiences have proven to me that there are a number of species of pterosaur living in various parts of the world, although they may be somewhat rare and mostly nocturnal.

The creatures seen by Eskin Kuhn and Aaron Tullock represent two distinct species of Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur. The pair seen by Kuhn are probably nocturnal (I believe the coloring was bland and most modern pterosaurs are nocturnal), not necessarily very rare; the one seen by Tullock is probably not nocturnal (judging by the coloring) but maybe very rare (judging by the rarity of sightings). For now, what we most need are more eyewitnesses who are willing to come forward, at least as far as to communicate with me; if they choose to be anonymous, I respect that desire. Any suggestions?

By the way, both sightings were in clear daylight, with no obstructions; both involved only one eyewitness, but that is rather common. Fortunately both eyewitnesses have agreed to have their names revealed. In regard to the differences in the sketches, why is drawing style mostly irrelevant here? The verbal descriptions that the eyewitnesses gave to me differ: teeth, no head crest, long claws on feet, bright coloration; no apparent teeth, head crest, no description of long claws on feet, no description of anything bright.

See also: “Texas Pterosaur” (Cryptid Eyewitness)

Somewhat related to: Marfa Lights of Texas (Living Nightmare: Attack in the Dead of Winter)

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Nocturnal Pterosaurs

When Susan Wooten’s sighting in South Carolina began receiving more attention, one critic proclaimed that a large modern pterosaur would be impossible so near the Atlantic coast of the United States, for thousands of beach-goers would have seen it. That critics seems to assume that any large pterosaur living in South Carolina would have shown up at the beach in daylight, causing news headlines; since he did not see any relevant news report, then no large pterosaur could live there.

How rarely critics consider the whole picture! The overall reports of living pterosaurs around the world suggest these creatures are mostly nocturnal. It’s not just the rarity of daylight sightings. Specific flight behavior at night suggests they are nocturnal.

Then why should they ever appear in daylight? Consider two dramatic daylight sightings in Papua New Guinea, where the nocturnal ropen is believed to fly with a bioluminescent glow at night. Both cases involve a large or giant “prehistoric” creature, with no sign of feathers, flying at low altitude. Both may have been Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs, awakened from sleep in daylight and frightened into flying away from potential danger.

In 1971, in daylight, on Bougainville Island, Brian Hennessy saw something he will never forget. In his own words, “. . . our truck had stopped on our downward journey from the top of the range to the coast way below. . . . I can’t remember why our vehicle had stopped. Maybe we had to wait for another vehicle to pass us. . . . I saw a very unusual creature. Firstly, it was very big . . . a longish narrow tail . . .”

I asked Mr. Hennessy, “Was anything coming out the back of the head . . . a crest,  appendage, horn, or comb?” He replied, “It was like a horn.”

The two vehicles may have startled the creature from sleep. Many years earlier and many miles to the west was another sighting.

In 1944, in daylight, west of Finnschafen (mainland New Guinea), Duane Hodgkinson saw something he will never forget. At the edge of a clearing, he and his army buddy were gazing at some large ants, bigger than any ants in Ohio. Some animal, at first unseen, came running through the grass. Something then flew up from the far side of the clearing, apparently startled by the running animal. Hodgkinson soon realized that it was not a bird, for it was too big and it had a long appendage coming out the back of the head. He then concluded that it was a “pterodactyl.” At about the time it flew away, a wild pig came running past.

I am convinced that both Hennessy and Hodgkinson saw Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs (on Umboi Island, the animal is called “ropen“). The 1944 sighting seems to have involved a large ropen awakened from sleep by a wild pig.

But the ropen is rarely seen in daylight, by Umboi natives. It is said to catch its food at night, on reefs that surround the island. Its described behavior resembles that of the kor, which islanders to the north say catches fish at night. Deep in the mainland of Papua New Guinea a large flying creature is said to fly at night: the indava. These three native names may refer to the same type of animal, for all accounts include a glow that flies at night. Of course intrinsic bioluminescence would not make it impossible for a creature to come out in daylight; it only makes a daylight appearance rare.

See also Pterosaur in South Carolina and also Hennessy Pterosaur

Consider reading more about nocturnal pterosaurs: Cliff Paiva report