Darren Naish the paleontologist seems to me, in some of his writings, to be almost an enemy to cryptozoological research related to modern pterosaurs. He is determined to support pterosaur extinction in the face of increasing reports of eyewitness sightings.
Details are what make scientific progress possible, but Naish seems to always avoid mentioning any details involving sighting reports that are taken most seriously by the cryptozoologists most actively involved. He can write many paragraphs without mentioning even one sighting report, yet he tries to make it appear that all reports are wrong. It seems that all that is needed is the idea that standard assumptions of paleontology are threatened or at least appear to be threatened.
Naish has said that “Fossil evidence demonstrates overwhelmingly that pterosaurs did not survive beyond the end of the Cretaceous, and the sightings of pterosaur-like animals that have been reported appear to be a combination of hoaxes and misidentification of large birds and bats.” He then gives not a milligram of detail about even one sighting, let alone the many that have been investigated in detail by those who have written scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals of science: David Woetzel and Jonathan Whitcomb.
I’m sure that I have said this before, but it bears repeating. “Fossil evidence” does not demonstrate the extinction of even one species, let alone all species of pterosaurs. If that is not enough to astonish us, “overwhelmingly” strikes me as ludicrous for any scientist to use for an assumption of something that is so hotly contested, for that same word could just as well be used as follows: “Fossil evidence overwhelmingly lacks the power to demonstrate the extinction of all species of pterosaurs.”
In respect to the many eyewitnesses, those who have neither been mistaken with birds or bats or corrupted by a desire to perpetrate a hoax, I offer some details on a few sightings:
I know that some skeptic can suggest drinking was the cause, but not everyone who drives a car has detailed delirium tremens hallucinations with giant Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs. In addition, even if one driver imagined a ‘dactyl or dinosaur bird flying in front of the windshield, such an imagination would never have an impact on other drivers, causing them to pull over to the side of the highway as the imaginative driver kept on driving normally.
South Carolina Sighting by Wooten – part of “Dactyl” post
Susan Wooten was driving . . . to the town of Florence, on a clear mid-afternoon in the fall of about 1989 . . . Where the road was surrounded by woods and swamps, Wooten saw something flying from her left, then passing in front of her . . . “It swooped down over the highway and back up gracefully over the pines,” but its appearance was shocking: “It looked as big as any car . . . NO feathers, not like a huge crane or egret, but like a humongous bat.”
“. . . what he called a “pterodactyl,” in fact two flying together, when he was a boy in the city of Pagbilao, Quezon Province . . . . they have long tails about 3 to 4 meters long . . .it is not a bird: They don’t have any feathers. . . . “I saw them clearly: the SHAPE, their BAT-LIKE WINGS, a LONG NECK and . . . They have a long beak. . . . They don’t have any feathers . . .”
It was a beautiful, clear summer day . . . I was looking in the direction of the ocean when I saw an incredible sight. It mesmerized me! . . . I saw two Pterosaurs . . . flying together at low altitude, perhaps 100 feet, very close in range from where I was standing, so that I had a perfectly clear view . . . they had a long tail trailing behind with a tuft of hair at the end.”
Setting aside details now, here is something general about the kongamato of Africa:
He believes a large stingray could overturn a boat (“Kongamato” means overturner of boats), declaring that a pterosaur would never have enough mass to overturn a boat. I find a number of serious problems with that pterosaur-impossible assumption, although there may have been some instances of large stingrays being labeled “Kongamato.” The point is twofold: His dismissal of the pterosaur possibility is flawed and the dependence on the label “Kongamato” can cause problems as well as solve them.