Hornbill Bird Comes in Next to Last

Which of the following explains best the sightings in Papua New Guinea? In particular, I mean the sightings by Duane Hodgkinson, Brian Hennessy, Gideon Koro, Jonah Jim, and Jonathan Ragu.

  1. Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur
  2. Unknown species of giant bat
  3. Hornbill bird
  4. Manta ray or Stingray fish

I propose that the above order is correct. For now, I concentrate on the suggestion, made by Dale Drinnon, that Hornbill birds account for some eyewitness reports, although he seems at least a bit unclear about which sightings. Before going on, it seems best to refer to a long blog post on Live Pterosaur. I highly recommend this post:

Hornbill Birds and a Live Pterosaur

A skeptic of the possibility of living pterosaurs gave half a sentence to the subject of Hornbill birds as the cause of sighting reports of live pterosaurs. The problem with that suggestion? Details in the sighting reports bear no resemblance to anything like a Hornbill.

Almost anyone who reads that post, or even part of it, will realize the obvious: The important sightings were not of anything even close to the Hornbill bird.

How did Drinnon arrive at the idea that sightings by Hodgkinson and Hennessy were of some kind of Hornbill bird? Since he gives not details, at least not that I have read, I presume it is the word “Hornbill” itself. The psychologist Brian Hennessy, eyewitness to the 1971 Bougainville flying creature, did mention the word “horn” when he described what he had seen. But when we examine details, we learn that it was something far different from the structure at the top of a Hornbill bird’s head. Hennessy’s choices from a selection of silhouettes resulted in the following, a sort of composite sketch of the head. The one on the top is for Hennessy’s sighting; the one on the bottom, Hodgkinson’s:

Hodgkinson and Hennessy composite sketches of ropen pterosaur

Now compare that kind of “horn” with the structure on the head of the Hornbill:

Hornbill bird

See the enormous difference between the ropen head crest and what a Hornbill bird has.

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About Norman Huntington AKA Jonathan Whitcomb

Passionately supporting research into living modern pterosaurs

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