What are the two most persuasive arguments against modern living pterosaurs?
No other objections come very close to those two, the big ones. But the problem with many statements by critics is that they do not look at details. They just list one or more alternate explanations or they just throw popular assumptions at any report of anything like a live pterosaur. Critics just hope people will just reject the possibility of some new discovery that flies against their beliefs.
A systematic approach would be more reasonable. Why not take one sighting at a time and look at ways that the report may have come from something other than the obvious: a non-extinct “pterodactyl?”
With Duane Hodgkinson’s 1944 sighting, a hoax appears unlikely, seeing that he is a flight instructor, needing people to respect his judgement. Playing a hoax for more than six decades would be a poor way to get respect from potential clients. Who would trust him?
Could Hodgkinson have seen something else? But what? He was a farm boy before joining the army and getting sent to New Guinea. That means he probably had some sense of the size of a field, especially a small field. He reported that the jungle clearing was about 100 feet in diameter. That leaves too little room for exaggerating the size of the flying creature, for both the “pterodactyl” and the two soldiers were in the same clearing, although on opposite sides. What’s the point? Hodgkinson said that the creature had a wingspread about the same as a Piper Tri-Pacer, which means maybe a little less than thirty feet. With some kind of exaggeration, the actual wingspread might have been as little as twenty feet, perhaps, but there is no bird or bat known to science to be that big, at least living ones.
Some skeptics just throw out the suggestion that the reports are from the fruit bat called “flying fox.” But how long is the tail of that big bat? Maybe one or two inches at the longest? Hodgkinson estimated the length of the tail of the creature he saw at close range: “at least” ten or fifteen FEET.
That brings up another point. Why would he play a hoax, even for a few months, with a story about a tail more than ten feet long? It is too extreme to be a hoax that lasts for over half a century. Much too extreme.
So Hodgkinson’s sighting was neither a hoax nor a misidentification. So what was it? For those unfamiliar with the whole story, he was not alone. His army buddy was with him. He is also not a drinker and he never has been a drinker. Two men did not hallucinate the same giant flying creature, even if one of them had been drinking.
Maybe the biggest thing on Hodgkinson’s side is the research that has been done over the past eighteen years or so. Other eyewitnesses have seen giant flying creatures in this part of the world: the Perth couple, Gideon Koro, Brian Hennessy, and others. Desciptions of long tails are common, tails so long that misidentifications are unlikely.
So the best explanation is the most obvious: Giant long-tailed pterosaurs are alive.
Hennessy and Hodgkinson witnessed “prehistoric” looking flying creatures in daylight, at fairly close range, with locations being Bougainville Island and the Finschhafen area, respectively, both in New Guinea, which is now the nation of Papua New Guinea.