By the modern-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb
Cliff Paiva and I do not proclaim that the animal seen in Ptp must have been a species of Pteranodon. We simply point out that similarities in the head suggest that it was a modern pterosaur at least similar to a Pteranodon.
Ptp photograph (do not confuse it with the Haxan Films hoax-photo)
I’ve recently been communicating, by emails, with a skeptic who has written much to persuade people to disbelieve in modern pterosaurs. Here’s part of what I told him in reply to a couple of his questions:
We have found significant evidence for the authenticity of Ptp in the past three months. I have a friend in California who has been looking at the photo much longer than I have, in greater detail, and he has much more experience in examining and analyzing photos than I have.
I pointed out to this person that he had put an image of Ptp onto his web page but that the text referring to it was about the Haxan Films “Freakylinks” TV show hoax photo, which resembles Ptp but which is a completely different photo.
You mentioned, “What evidence do you have that it is not a similar hoax, possible made by the same team?” That can be answered by rephrasing a question you asked a little later, although it requires looking a little deeper into what happened with the Haxan-Films hoax:
“Why would anyone go to the trouble of creating a fake photo just to imitate [another fake photo they had made]?” Nobody would do such a thing. That means the Ptp photo (which is older) was not a hoax made by people in (or closely associated with) Haxan Films.
Now to your exact question “why would anyone go to the trouble of creating a fake photo just to imitate a real photo of the same thing?”
First of all, how would the Haxan people know that Ptp was real? They’re in the business of making fake things, after all. Does it not seem likely that they would have assumed that it was fake?
You said, “why would anyone . . .” This is not just anyone. Haxan Films was in the business of making fictional things look real in their Freakylinks TV episodes and in things they did to promote the show. Big money seems to have been made, so it was no big deal to pay a few persons to act like they were Civil War soldiers and pay somebody else to make the photo, of those men, look old.
In other words, if a lot of money can be made by making things that are fake, some people will make fake things. But that kind of thinking does not cause people to search for scientific truth.
The Haxan people probably had no desire to find out about any truth in Ptp. They only wanted to make something that would promote their fictional TV shows. With no idea about copyright issues with Ptp, they just made their own photo, using Ptp as a model.
In other words, the Haxan people were in no frame of mind to learn about whether or not Ptp was a hoax or a genuine photo. They probably assumed it was a hoax like you did.
That brings up the subject of confirmation bias. Would you be willing to look into the possibility that you have been influenced by a confirmation bias?
I remember seeing this photograph many year ago, perhaps even in the 1960’s. One of my earliest memories of it included my distaste for the wings. At first glance, they look like the ends of two canoes, or one canoe cut in half. I had little knowledge of canoes at the time, but in January of 2017, I got an email from a man who did know about them. . . . “Those aren’t halves of a canoe! . . . Too narrow, too shallow. And definitely not a dugout canoe!”
The photograph now called “Ptp” has been around for a long time, possibly in one or more books in the mid-20th century, according to a number of persons who report remembering it. Very early in the 21st century, a stunt-photo was created, apparently imitating Ptp, for one or more episodes of the Freakylinks television series on the Fox network. . . . But that photo has an entirely different origin than what is now called “Ptp” . . .
It’s possible for two similar photos to both be fake. But when one of them was made to closely imitate the older one, it is at least a little suspicious.
I believe it’s important that people not be deceived when viewing the image that Mr. Paiva and I have declared to be a genuine modern pterosaur. We are serious about our declaration that this photograph (Ptp) has a valid image of a real animal.
We also need to understand that a more-recent imitation photo is a hoax . . . created for a TV show.
There seems to be no end of refutations for the “hoax hypothesis,” as it has been called. Statistics from years of eyewitness sighting reports disprove any generalized hoax explanation, for the degree of certainty in descriptions of featherlessness (if “featherlessness” is a word) fly in the face of those skeptics who use the word “hoax.”