Pterosaurs, “No Evidence,” and Poop in the Freezer

Set aside what critics imagine about my motivations. One critic, a biology professor in Minnesota, insists there is “no evidence,” in my writings, for any living pterosaur. What does he mean? He will not be named here, for I’m responding to his blog post (“There are no living pterosaurs, and ‘ropen’ is a stupid fantasy”), and his approach is faulty. If I were to respond, in one posting, to all his negative comments about my writings, my religion, and my personal motivations, it would be a long posting indeed. And it could reflect more negatively towards that professor than his posting did towards me.

Gitmo Pterosaur sketched by eyewitness Patty Carson

Is this sketch, by the eyewitness Patty Carson, really worthless?

Let’s focus on concepts related to “no evidence,” in two senses:

  1. How does it relate to what other critics say about me and my associates?
  2. Is there evidence for the universal extinction of all species of pterosaurs?

Science, Cryptozoology, and Evidence

How common for critics of modern-pterosaur investigations to fail to comprehend that this is cryptozoology! In my digital book Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea, it is explained:

Cryptozoology is not a branch of science, at least not in the usual sense; but it can motivate zoologists to conduct field investigations, at least in theory it can motivate them. It is the “study of hidden animals,” and usually relies less on direct scientific examination and more on eyewitness testimony; nevertheless, we can use scientific reasoning and methods within the boundaries of cryptozoology.

The American missionary Thomas Savage, in the 1800’s in Africa, obtained some bones of what we now call a “Western Gorilla,” which prepared for its eventual scientific acknowledgement. Whatever led that missionary to obtain those bones can be called “cryptozoological,” especially if he had been following eyewitness accounts.

If we look only at the first paragraph of the above quotation, does that mean that all nonfiction writings about modern pterosaurs can be dismissed by scientists and professors of biology and paleontology, because cryptozoology is not science? No, this runs much deeper. Some of the books, scientific papers, and web pages on extant pterosaurs contain more scientific reasoning and methods than many of the writings of those professors who criticize those cryptozoologists, much more.

Testimony from common eyewitnesses—that is often the major part of evidence in cryptozoology, in contrast to standard work in biology and paleontology. But eyewitness experience is not the only evidence gathered by cryptozoologists, and this can prove embarrassing to a some biologists and paleontologists. One example is statistical analysis of data from 128 of the more-credible sighting reports of apparent modern pterosaurs, showing that hoaxes could not have played a major part in the overall reports of those 128 encounters (which sightings were in various parts of the world).

Critics of the modern-pterosaur investigations rarely, if ever, say much about any particular recent sighting report. They generalize about apparent-pterosaur sightings, usually trying to make points from what they imagine, in their minds, about encounters with flying creatures. My associates and I, on the other hand, often examine particular reports—actual encounters—and compare them with other particular reports.

Feces Analysis Under the Microscope

During the past eleven years, I have published many blog posts related to the concept of modern pterosaurs. On thirteen of those blogs, I have written a total of 1,074 posts, and that does not count hundreds of non-blog pages, all on this one subject. This does not prove that those featherless flying creatures live in modern times, but it demonstrates that at least one human takes that idea very seriously.

The biology professor in Minnesota has written one blog post about the lack of “evidence,” in my many online publications, for living pterosaurs. I see only one explanation: He thinks that no reported sighting of a living pterosaur should be considered evidence.

If we look only in that narrow sense, eliminating all eyewitness testimonies of sightings, it appears on the surface that this may be correct. Where are the photos or video footage of a modern pterosaur? But how can any evidence be useful if all of us dismiss all human experience with it? We must believe some kind of eyewitness report, by somebody, even if it is only a scientist collecting data in his laboratory, otherwise “evidence” becomes stale, even a worthless word. The big problem in modern times is this: The imaginations of professors have been exalted far too high when only one kind of interpretation is allowed for a few limited observations in the laboratory and the imagination of one group rules by eliminating opposing points of view.

There must be some value in what common people see outside of laboratories. If it really is worthless for commoners to testify of apparent modern pterosaurs, that implies that professors who proclaim all species of those flying creatures must be extinct—those persons with college degrees—they should be given infinitely more credence than those without the same educational credentials.

What makes an examination by a scientist, of something tangible in a controlled environment, credible evidence? It’s not just the educational degree bestowed upon that scientist, is it? It’s the opportunity for other scientists to repeat that kind of examination, or one like it, right? The quantity of examinations, by specialists—that should increase credibility, even though the quality of detailed records also makes a difference.

How does the professor from Minnesota handle the quantity of my online publications? He refers to it as “busily dropping turds all over the internet.” I say that this professor is at least 99% wrong there, and that requires an explanation.

An eyewitness of a “dragon-pterodactyl” told me, in June of 2012, about her sighting, an encounter in Lakewood, California, within hours of her reporting it to me. Over a period of weeks, I interviewed her and her husband, and I collected feces that were almost directly under where the apparent ropen was said to have been perched. The husband pointed out to me that the dung differed from that of their large family dog, although it was in the same area of the garden.

To be brief, my associate Garth Guessman got in touch with a veterinarian who eventually agreed to examine the feces I had collected. Weeks after the sighting, the veterinarian finished the testing and gave us the results. He examined it using three methods: direct observation, floatation and centrifugation. He looked at two slides from each method for a total of six slides. Well, we need to remember that the feces I collected was almost directly under where the flying creature had been perched but not exactly under it. And the dung from a large family dog does differ from that of a raccoon, and somebody in the family did see a raccoon in the area recently. So it seems that the biology professor in Minnesota was not 100% wrong when he mentioned “dropping turds.” It was just more literal than he thought. Anyway, my wife still is not laughing when reminded of the time we kept raccoon poop in the family freezer for weeks.

Yet we need to look on the sunny side. The creature labeled “dragon-pterodactyl” was not a raccoon. It had a tail that she estimated was about four feet long and a “triangle” at the end of the tail. When she accidentally startled the animal that was perched above her head on a telephone line, the strange thing flew away to the thick canopy of a neighborhood tree: clearly not a raccoon.

Scientific Papers on the Universal Extinction of Pterosaurs

Over the past 200 years, how many peer-reviewed papers have been published in scientific journals, on the universal extinction of all species of pterosaurs? Well, let me take a guess: in the neighborhood of zero. (If you know of one, however, please let me know.) Why do so many Americans and so many citizens of other Western countries believe that all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs have been extinct for millions of years? It’s because that idea has been drilled into us since childhood, from countless directions, and all this for generations. Westerners have assumed all species of pterosaurs became extinct long ago and this assumption had its birth at about the time when George Washington was the President of the United States of America.

The professor in Minnesota emphasizes the lack of photos of a modern pterosaur. I emphasize the lack of photos of an extinction of even one species of that general type of flying creature and those species were, at one time, very numerous. I repeat what I wrote in Searching for Ropens and Finding God: “Trust one eyewitness of a plane crash over the imaginations of a hundred professors who’ve agreed how that kind of plane should fly.”

Let’s be open to common human experience, for gaining a firm understanding of human experience was at the heart of the birth of modern Western science centuries ago.

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Nocturnal Ropen in California

On June 19, 2012, over a storm drain in Lakewood, California, in clear daylight at about noon, a long-tailed featherless creature sat on a telephone line . . .

Horizontal Tail Vane of a Ropen Pterosaur

I brought up the subject of tail-vane orientation, and she was positive that it was held horizontally. This is an obscure subject, yet she quickly answered my questions about that detail. It seems unlikely to me that she had read anything online about any pterosaur eyewitness describing how the tail “diamond” or flange was oriented.

Pterosaurs in Lakewood and Griffith Park, California

I recently learned of a confirming eyewitness for that same backyard in Lakewood. A close relative told another family member that she had also seen a large strange flying creature in that same backyard, but two years earlier, in 2010. She had said nothing to anybody, for it would have sounded too strange. She spoke up when she learned about the sighting of June 19, 2012.

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About Jonathan Whitcomb

Nonfiction cryptozoology author
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