Sighting in Raleigh, North Carolina

I was going over a report of a pterosaur sighting in North Carolina and noticed similarities with Susan Wooten’s sighting in South Carolina. There are also differences.

Date of Sighting

  • NC: March 23, 2013
  • SC: about fall of 1989

Size of Flying Creature in Wingspan

  • NC: 5-6 feet
  • SC: 12-15 feet

Feathers or not

  • NC: “NO feathers”
  • SC: “NO feathers”

Conditions and Time

  • NC: driving on a highway at sundown
  • SC: driving on a highway at about 3 p.m.

How High Above Highway?

  • NC: “about 7 or 8 feet off the ground”
  • SC: “probably 20 ft or so” (above the highway)

Tail Details

  • NC: “a LONG tail with a spade at the end”
  • SC: “long, long tail”

Head of Flying Creature

  • NC: “enormous pointed beak, with a pointed top of it’s head.”
  • SC: “Big thing coming out of its forehead like a boomerang, and also the same in the back.”


We could just as well compare this sighting in North Carolina with other sightings in the eastern states of the USA. Many eyewitnesses have reported a large flying creature with a long tail but no feathers. Some report a “diamond” or similar structure at tail-end, and some report a head crest.

The March-2013 sighting in North Carolina needs to be taken in perspective in relation to other sightings in North America. Details in these reports need to be compared and evaluated.

Pterosaur Sighting in North Carolina

 When somebody reports a pterosaur sighting in Raleigh, North Carolina, we can expect objections from skeptics. That’s what we got earlier this year, on a musicians’ forum.

Pterosaur Sightings in North Carolina and Spain

 . . . saw something HUGE above me in the sky.  It looked like a pale greenish white and smooth-skinned. It didn’t appear to have any feathers, and it had the tail with the diamond shape on the end.


Cover of the third edition of "Live Pterosaurs in America" by Whitcomb

Live Pterosaurs in America (nonfiction cryptozoology book)

From page 124 of the book:

“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 of them. . . .

The rhythm of their large wings was very graceful, slow, and yet they were flying and not merely gliding . . .”

The marine observed details, later recording them in his sketch: The head was large in proportion, with a large head crest; the short “hind legs” were attached to the trailing part of the wings; the vertebrae were noticeable; the end of the tail had a “tuft of hair.”

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Perching Pterosaur, not Woodpecker

Dale A. Drinnon has another explanation for pterosaur sightings in Southern California. He now says it’s a woodpecker. In his blog post “Living Pterosaurs of Hollywood,” he says:

This sounds like possibly another series of sightings of an outsized woodpecker similar to the Ivory-billed woodpecker, already suspected from “Pteranodon” sightings from further North in California and in Oregon. There is a larger species related to the Ivory-Billed woodpecker native to Mexico but it is thought to be extinct. The creature which is reported as a pterosaur perches upright, which no kind of a pterosaur could do.

I’d better explain the context. Drinnon says that after what looks like a quote, but I haven’t been able to find the source, after I Googled on his text. Maybe he was quoting correctly. If he did, with “Jonathan David Whitcomb states on Facebook” then I accept that is what was written on Facebook. It relates to the May 13th sighting this year, a little southeast of Griffith Park. The animal was called a pterosaur by the eyewitness and she said that it had no feathers but it did have a head crest.

Here are some problems with what Drinnon has said:

  • He said “perching” but the May 13th sighting had a “pterosaur” flying over a freeway. It did not perch.
  • He said no kind of pterosaur can perch but the kind that is often reported in Southern California looks like a member of Rhamphornynchoidea, which could perch.
  • He said a woodpecker could be what is being seen, but almost all sightings are of much larger flying creatures, far bigger than any woodpecker.
  • He said sightings in Southern California are related to “Pteranodon sightings” further north in California and in Oregon but he does not say why those might be related to sightings in Southern California.
  • He thinks the head crest mentioned by the May 13th eyewitness is the same thing as what some woodpeckers have, but she chose only pterosaur images from a survey. Drinnon says nothing about that survey.
  • He thinks none of the eyewitnesses are capable of determining that they had seen flying creatures that were not birds. Why does Drinnon think he can judge all those persons when his own judgment has not been sufficiently proven? Has he even questioned any eyewitness of a strange flying creature?

Does a Pterosaur Perch?

It could be that Drinnon was thinking about the Lakewood, California, sighting that happened last June, in 2012. The eyewitness said that the “dragon-pterodactyl” was perched on a telephone cable just a little overhead. But she also described a long tail with a “triangle” at tail end, as I recall. That would make it the type of pterosaur that had digits on the feet that could perch, for that would be a basal pterosaur.

Dragons or Pterosaurs Over Interstate-5

Right between the Los Angeles River and Griffith Park—that’s where the three “dragons” were flying on March 3, 2013, at 6:10 a.m., but another driver on the I-5 Freeway saw one “pterosaur” ten weeks later, just a little over a mile south of the first sighting location.

California Ropens – Are They Woodpeckers?

Immediately after mentioning the woodpecker interpretation of pterosaur sightings in California, the skeptic said, “The creature which is reported as a pterosaur perches upright, which no kind of a pterosaur could do.” Well, that old generalization no longer applies, for we now know that one type of pterosaur could indeed perch upright, and that long-tailed variety just happens to be . . . yes, the same general type observed perching upright on a telephone line in Lakewood, California, on June 19, 2012: the long-tailed variety.

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Ropen-Duah Tradition Dies Hard

I see two problems with the ropen/duah information in the book Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology, by Michael Newton.

  1. Whitcomb’s post on this book has an explanation for the word duah. It may be just a mistake by an English-speaking researcher. The correct version of the name may be duwas.
  2. Another problem has nothing to do with the correct version or spelling of the name of duah. It’s about the idea that this is a different kind of creature, not the same species perhaps as the ropen. I find fault with the concept.

Newton’s book on cryptozoology was published early in 2005 and the entry for the ropen was probably written long before any information was available from the 2004 expeditions by Whitcomb, Guessman, and Woetzel. Even Paul Nation, if I recall correctly, has shown doubts about the two names referring to two different kinds of flying creature, and that was many years ago.

Here is a better idea about the duwas and the ropen. They are just two names, in different village languages, for the same flying creature of the night. I think that’s Paul Nation’s position and he has explored in Papua New Guinea more than any other American that I know of, looking for the bioluminescent pterosaurs, as we believe they are.

I think that the reason this idea of two sizes of ropens has been hanging around so long is that the earlier researchers, William Gibbons and Karl Shuker, are generally respected, at least in their own separate circles, and they may be more educated than some of the explorers of more recent years. But their anonymous sources may have been mostly missionaries in Papua New Guinea, and we don’t seem to have any quotations from any interviews that were conducted. Third hand, or even fourth hand, accounts may have been involved, who knows?

Pterosaurs in Philippines and Near Indonesia

The two men were flying a Britten-Norman Islander, past the halfway point from Broome, Australia, to Bali, Indonesia, at 6500 feet, when they nearly collided with a large flying creature.

Are Modern Pterosaurs Bioluminescent?

There is a species other than a pterosaur that is purported to have intrinsic bioluminescent capability, namely the common barn owl, Tyto Alba.

Old Biologist; New Pterosaur Insight

If my information is correct, it was in the early 1930′s when Cheesman was baffled by flying lights just below the top of a nearby ridge deep in the mainland of New Guinea. She wrote about the mysterious lights in her book The Two Roads of Papua; the publishing date was 1935.


The "Bible of modern pterosaurs" book "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" - support the truth about these flying creatures

Searching for Ropens and Finding God has been called the “Bible of modern pterosaurs”

From page 172:

Believe what you will, I believe that those professors who replied to the survey had no knowledge of our investigations and that they would have given a higher estimate than 5%, if they knew half of what I know about sighting reports from around the world. Strange as modern pterosaurs may sound, just a few centuries ago the earth revolving around the sun also sounded strange.

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Civil War Pteranodon Photograph

controversial photograph of what looks like six Union soldiers standing over the remains of a large Pteranodon

*Important Update on “Ptp” Civil War Photo

In January of 2017, the physicist Clifford Paiva and I agreed that this old photograph has a valid image of a modern pterosaur. Please see the more recent post that was published on the Modern Pterosaur blog: “Civil War Pterodactyl Photo.” What follows is the older post on this subject, written before critically important discoveries and announcements in early 2017.

The Original April-2013 Post

This may be the hot topic now, so I’ll pitch in. This old looking photo shows a few Union soldiers and a large pterosaur that we’re led to believe was shot by those men. The big question is whether or not this is an accurate version of a real photographic recording during the Civil War. I’ll be honest, I don’t know*.

I read a comment somewhere, on some forum thread, about this photo. Somebody said that if some soldiers really had seen a giant pterosaur then it would have gotten into the newspapers. I disagree. Back then, newspaper editors would not take hold of a monster story when there were so many war stories to write about. Some huge bird would not have been nearly as interesting as how the latest battle had gone.

I think this photo has been around a long time. I also think I know something about why people might not believe it’s a real photo. I mean in recent years. People just assume it’s another fake. For years now we’re been bombarded by fakery in photos and in videos, so it makes it easy to turn away from this Civil War photo.

The wings look a little like canoes, too. That just about does it in. But if people would think about it a little deeper they would realize there may be more to this photo. It is either a Photoshop fake or an old fake by the soldiers themselves. I don’t think it’s both. So if it’s some kind of hoax, which one is it?

It’s a little too good to have been made by those soldiers, except for those wings. And it’s hard to believe that a modern Photoshop hoaxer would put two canoes into the picture as if they were wings. That makes this photograph a real mystery. Maybe it’s a real Pteranodon with wings that became twisted over many days after the animal’s death.

Photograph of a Modern Pterosaur?

Let’s assume somebody decided to make a hoax photo of a convincing recently-deceased Pteranodon. Using Photoshop, how would a hoaxer make it convincing? Would he use an image of a dugout canoe for the wings of the giant pterosaur? Not likely. Would he use or construct anything looking like an image of dugout canoe? Not likely.

Destination Truth Ropen Episode

As a nocturnal creature, the ropen’s defining characteristic is the glow it reportedly emits from its stomach and tail.

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Are Modern Pterosaurs Bioluminescent?

That’s a good question, yes. I approach it from different sides, rather than just with one question, “Are modern pterosaurs bioluminescent?”.

Are any Large Flying Creatures Bioluminescent?

In other words, does anything larger than a firefly have wings for flying and have glowing capacity? There is a species other than a pterosaur that is purported to have intrinsic bioluminescent capability, namely the common barn owl, Tyto Alba.

Flying barn owl - Tyto Alba - photo by "Wild Lens"

Of course not all Barn Owls glow, but the Australia researcher Fred Silcock has written a book on this subject and he has some explanations. With one expert firmly believing that some barn owls in the wild can use bioluminescence, it may not seem quite so revolutionary to suggest that capacity in some pterosaurs. The name of the book by Silcock is The Min Min Light, The Visitor Who Never Arrives. This subject of glowing owls can get rather tedious, so I will move on.

Ropen of Papua New Guinea

I suggest, to anyone who would attempt to explain pterosaur bioluminescence to a skeptic, that we begin with reports of large flying creatures known to some of the natives of Papua New Guinea, creatures that glow as they fly. They are called by a variety of names:

  • ropen
  • duwas
  • seklo-bali
  • wawanar
  • indava
  • kor

The variety of native cultures in which this glowing flying creature is known is evidence of the biological reality of it, but not proof of its existence. But the following makes a substantial supplement to the native traditions and stories of encounters:

  • David Woetzel’s sighting on Umboi Island in 2004
  • Paul Nation’s video recording in 2006
  • The Destination Truth video recording in 2007

We could easily doubt one or the other, doubting native stories of encounters with giant featherless flying creatures and strange flying lights or doubting American explorers who witness and videotape strange flying lights. But we cannot nearly as easily throw away both of them together.

We could doubt Gideon Koro when he testified that he saw the ropen that had no feathers but a tail “seven meters” long or we could doubt Duane Hodgkinson when he testified that he saw a pterodactyl with a tail “at least” ten or fifteen feet long. But we cannot nearly as easily throw away both sightings together.

In conclusion, the fact that we do not yet have a live or fresh-dead body of a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur does not mean we do not have a strong case for the existence of a modern bioluminescent pterosaur. Patience is a virtue, but I will not sit around and say nothing until someone gets hold of a body. I encourage everybody to be open minded and do what can be done to support the research and the efforts of those who get out and look for modern pterosaurs.

Occam’s Razor and Marfa Lights

Bunnell’s H-4 requires two questionable things to interact. The bioluminescent-nocturnal-flying-predators hypothesis, “BNFP,” involves a questionable element, flying creatures not classified in biology, and an unquestionable element, prey such as bats, snakes, mice, and other small living things in southwest Texas. Of course, a predator need not always be hunting. They sometimes mate and compete for mates. Some predators even play. To the best of my knowledge, these aspects of group-predator behaviors can account for all the CE-III lights and more. The simplicity award goes to BNFP.

Flying Lights in the United States

I have seen them, they look like bats but flap their wings way different than birds do… And they have a red-orange bioluminiscent [sic] body… First time I spotted one was somewhere on Nov, 2011; last time I saw 2 of them together a week ago [March, 2012].

Pterosaur Sighting in South Carolina and in New Guinea

The men soon realized that it was no bird that started to circle the clearing. It had a tail “at least ten to fifteen feet long,” (book Searching for Ropens, 2007) and a long appendage at the back of its head: apparently, a live pterosaur.


non-fiction cryptozoology book

Buy your own copy of this nonfiction cryptozoology book: Live Pterosaurs in America

From Isaac E. Salapat:

“Once you start to reading it you won’t want to put it down . . . it is all true and based on years of research . . . amazing and awe inspiring. Out of five stars I’ll give it all five.”

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Pterosaur Sighting or What?

Sometimes I think that the most ignorant persons on earth, regarding pterosaur extinction, are biology professors and paleontologists. An unnamed biology faculty member at UCLA recently said, “Pterosaurs are extinct and have been for 10s of millions of years. Period.” That was in response to a question about the ropen of Papua New Guinea. It would have been better to simply admit ignorance of eyewitness sightings and perhaps ask about details.

What paleontologist knows about the reported pterosaur flying near the university at Irvine, California? Probably not any professor at that university, for it was a non-faculty member who saw the animal fly in front of his car one summer day a few years ago.

I would guess very few, if any, biology professors know about the “pterodactyl” sighting between Australia and Indonesia, a few thousand feet above the surface of the sea. The pilot and copilot were knocked out of their comfort zone by the huge flying thing that almost collided with their two-engine prop plane a few years ago.

Paleontologists can talk about and write about particular extinctions of pterosaurs, and they can do that until the paint flakes off the walls, but it is all speculation. Which of them knows about the Australian psychologist Brian Hennessy, who saw a long-tailed “prehistoric” creature flying over a dirt road on Bougainville Island, New Guinea? The paleontologists are ignorant of such encounters, for their heads are always buried in their old presumptions.

If Duane Hodgkinson and his army buddy did not see a “pterodactyl” in that jungle clearing west of Finschhafen, New Guinea, in 1944, what did they see? It could not have been any mechanical toy, for it was too big and sophisticated and too early in history. It could not have been a bird, for it had a wingspan of about thirty feet and a tail at least ten or fifteen feet long, even if it had feathers. It could not have been the largest species of bat for the flying fox fruit bat has nothing like a tail anywhere near that size, even if there had been extreme exaggeration in tail length estimate.

What did the married couple see in Perth, Australia, as they were taking a walk on a warm evening in December of 1997? The husband worked in a scientific field, and he reported a size of around thirty to fifty feet for the long-tailed flying creature. The wife was ridiculed for making the sighting public, accuse of telling a lie. She was offended at the accusation but kept on insisting that she and her husband had observed the pterosaur-like creature. That observation, by the way, was for minutes, with some of that time revealing much structure in the lighting from a nearby sports stadium. Why would she subject both of them to riducule, for years, if they had not actually seen what they said that they had seen? A hoax makes no sense here.

It’s not that professors of biology and paleontology are somewhat less informed about one or two reports of modern pterosaurs. Most of them seem totally ignorant of over a hundred critical pterosaur sightings, reports from a few decades ago to a few weeks ago.

Pterodactyl Sightings Worldwide

One night, whilst sitting on the ground by the tents (a fair way from the noise and commotion of the festival), I saw what I at first assumed was an owl gliding over the campsite (I assumed that because it was night time, and obviously no other birds would be out-bar things like nightjars-which this was not!) – it passed right over us, probably about 30-40ft high, and as I watched it, I realised it was definitely no owl I’d ever seen before. It was the colour of suede/sand, looked like the same sort of texture as suede (i.e no feathers), had a long thin tail, and didn’t flap once.

Pterosaur Sighting in Australia

“ . . it had a ruddy reddish brown leathery skin; (we could see its underneath as it flew over us at about 300 ft up; the glow from all the ground lighting made that possible), it had a long tail and a wingspan that we estimated at between 30-50 feet across. . . .”

 Not All Biology Professors Fight Modern Pterosaurs

A recent survey of biology professors in the USA reveals not all of them are completely convinced that all species of pterosaurs became extinct by 65 million years ago.

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More About the “Destination Truth” Ropen Episode

I know that last July I wrote about this television show, but I left many things out.

It seems timely now to quote Josh Gates, who leads expeditions, including this one in Papua New Guinea, searching for the truth about the flying creatures that could be pterosaurs.

“I’m Josh Gates. My travels have taken me to the most exotic and mysterious places on earth. I’ve seen some unexplainable things which raise some strange questions. Now I’ve pulled together a crack team, armed with the latest technology, to search for answers. I’m not sure what’s out there waiting for me but I know what I’m looking for: the truth.”

“Reports of a pterodactyl-type bird brought my attention to Papua New Guinea. The locals call this flying dinosaur the “ropen,” and the papers have reported sightings all over the country. They describe it as an extremely dangerous large featherless bird with a wingspan that can reach up to fifteen feet. Some experts believe the ropen is a pterosaur that survived the Cretaceous period by hiding deep in the caves scattered throughout Papua New Guinea.”

“As a nocturnal creature, the ropen’s defining characteristic is the glow it reportedly emits from its stomach and tail. Many witnesses have claimed to see this glow at night, and recently a U.S. explorer caught two lights on camera that he thought belonged to the legendary animal.”

“As you might have guessed, I wanted to see this lost-world creature for myself, so Lindsay, Marc, Neil, Eric, Hank, and I packed up the equipment and headed to the airport”

Joshua Gates shows native eyewitness a recording on a laptop computer, while the sit on a native boat

Josh Gates and Fabian in Salamaua, Papua New Guinea, in 2007

Three expedition-team members on a small boat in Papua New Guinea

On the left, Josh Gates; on the right, Jacob Kepas, native eyewitness

At a harbor in Papua New Guinea, native interpreter Jacob Kepas is interviewed by the American Josh Gates

Jacob Kepas answered Josh Gates questions

Joshua Gates interviewed the eyewitness Jacob Kepas.

Josh: “I’ve heard that you’ve seen the ropen.”

Jacob: “I saw the light back in Wau.”

Josh: “What did the light look like.”

Jacob:  “It looked very bright.”

Josh: “Like a round light?”

Jacob: “Yes.”

Josh: “The whole bird just glowed?”

Jacob: “The stomach and the light from both wings.”

Later in their expedition, the team was able to videotape one of the flying lights.

Television Episode of “Destination Truth”

Soon after the cave adventure, they set up cameras nearby, hoping for some sighting at night. They were not disappointed, for a strange flying light appeared over the sea, out beyond the high cliff on which they had set up their four cameras.

Television Coverage of Flying Creatures

I am grateful that my friends and associates Garth Guessman, Clifford Paiva, and Paul Nation were featured on this Monsterquest episode. I am also grateful that Duane Hodgkinson was part of this television production about these wonderful flying creatures.


"Searching for Ropens and Finding God" - front cover - non-fiction book

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – what a gift it will be!

From page 173:

It all happened so fast and I didn’t get a good look at it as I was busy trying to control my car. But it flew over my head and disappeared into a gravel pit. I was pretty shaken up, but unhurt and wasn’t brave enough to go to the gravel pit to investigate then or later. Nor did I tell anyone because they would have thought I was crazy.

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Modern Pterosaurs Seen in Georgia

“There’s nothing new under the sun.” Recent reports of modern pterosaurs, or large featherless creatures, in Georgia are not that new. The Phantoms & Monsters web site has a post from 2009 about two hunters in Georgia around the early 1960’s. One of the hunters was greatly frightened by a large flying creature: “Suddenly my friend appeared and the look on his face was ashen. He told me he had been hunting when a giant bird or something had flown right over his head and disappeared into the trees.”

I did some research on the name of the town of Griffin, Georgia, but found that it came from a man named Griffin, not from any strange flying creature.

I found that searching online with -dragon in Georgia- brings up web pages on the subjects of scenic motorcycle routes and a dragon boat festival, which are not helpful. Sea dragons at the Georgia Aquarium and a business of tattoos and piercings were also not helpful. It seems more useful to search on cryptozoology sites.

When we think of sightings of modern pterosaurs in Georgia, we need to look at the big picture. Animals and birds have no knowledge of political boundaries. Flying creatures in particular are not hindered by borders, even when people put up high fences. We need to look at sighting accounts from states around Georgia.

Susan Wooten is a good example. She was driving down a country road around 1989 when something huge flew in front of her car and across the road. She reported that the flying creature “looked as big as any car, and had NO feathers.” Like other eyewitness accounts, this one had a report of a long tail.

There have also been eyewitness accounts of similar flying creatures in Florida and North Carolina, states near Georgia.

Flying Creature Sightings in Georgia

I can only guess to be 15-20′ wing spans and the motion of their wings as they flew was very slow. The head was long and ended in a point; wings ended in a point and appeared to be featherless

Featherless Flying Creature in Georgia

As it leapt out from the woods, I saw it from below, and the tail was very long with a shape on the end. Its wings were probably half-spread and I saw several dark thin horizontal bands across the belly.

Georgia Sightings by Sandra Paradise

She has now revealed two more sightings, in addition to the first two. The third one was when she had a camera in her car but she could not stop in time to photograph it before it flew away. The fourth sighting she was not sure of except that it was probably of the same kind of creature.

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Did a Bird Snatch a Baby?

In the YouTube video called “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” we could lose confidence in predatory birds, at least when we take children to play in a city park. What next?

The whole thing was just an animation experiment, made by a few students at the Centre NaD animation school in Montreal. Both baby and bird never existed in the original video.

Slow go for Mother

If you look closely at slow motion of the mother, you’ll see that she gets up and jogs rather casually towards where the baby is being carried. The audio is still working in the video recording but the mother never screams. Doesn’t that sound fishy? Even when the baby is dropped from about eight feet high, that mother does not scream or dive forward with arms outstretched, nothing of the kind. She just increases her running speed as the baby hits the ground. She never tried to catch the child.

slow movement of the reputed mother makes this video suspect, at least

Most mothers would dive with outstretched arms to catch their baby

I’ve seen another YouTube video, one that points out that as the bird releases the baby that baby does not immediately start to fall. Instead the baby starts to rise a little bit, if only briefly. It shows that it was done with animation.

Pterosaurs Alive in America

creatures are seen swooping low over the water, at times causing local Nighthawk birds to screach in response.

Eagle Toddler Youtube Video

The mother appeared only mildly interested in saving her baby

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Statistical Analysis of Sighting Data

I highly recommend this blog post:

Live Pterosaurs and Science

We now have 74 sightings with wingspan estimates, up from the 57 that were analyzed about one year ago. The updated database includes the earlier sighting reports, as they were combined with the newer accumulations of information on such things as wingspans, time-of-day-or-night, presence or absence of a long tail, head crest, etc.

Whitcomb’s analysis is somewhat brief, with general concepts that show how the weight of evidence points to a lack of hoaxes for those sightings in which wingspan estimates were given. This could benefit from a closer perusal.

By the way, Whitcomb is open to requests for the original database, for those who would want to take the time to do their own analysis.

Getting back to wingspan estimates, the proposal by some antagonists, that hoaxes caused sighting reports, is countered by Whitcomb’s data on wingspan estimates. To understand this, it helps to know something about what type of pterosaur is often reported.

The long-tail to no-long-tail ratio is about twenty to one as follows:

  • long tail 41%
  • no long tail 2%
  • not specified 57%

This means that if many hoaxes had contaminated the data then those jokesters would need to be in one of the following categories:

  1. Trying to convince people that basal pterosaurs were seen
  2. Ignorantly including long tails in their hoaxes

If number one, the hoaxers would have given wingspans below about seven feet. But Whitcomb’s data clearly defeats that possibility, for the only impressive peak is more like eight to thirteen feet, and that peak is not extremely high, tapering gradually into those wingspans that are somewhat larger than wingspans of large birds. Number one is practically eliminated, for it would not have led to the data we have on wingspans.

Number two seems more likely, but a different problem presents itself. If jokesters had ignorantly promoted long-tailed pterosaur sightings, what would influence them in providing wingspan sizes? It would be large wingspans, probably over twenty feet, that they would have lied about, for three reasons:

  1. Cause shock from a report of a huge size
  2. Avoid the possibility of a bird-misidentification interpretation
  3. Connect the hoax with popular science fiction movies and stories

No jokester would report seeing a modern pterosaur with a wingspan of eight or nine or ten feet. That’s too much like the size of large birds. Where’s the shock value in that lie? But it’s in that simple concept that we have a device for eliminating the number two category of jokester mentality. Here is part of Whitcomb’s data for wingspan sizes in feet:

6, 6, 6, 6

7, 7

8, 8, 8, 8, 8

9, 9, 9, 9

10, 10, 10, 10, 10.5

11, 11

12, 12, 12.5

13, 13, 13, 13


16, 16

17, 17, 17


20, 20, 20, 20, 20.5

21, 21.5



25, 25, 25, 25


The range from 8-13 feet is small, compared with the overall range from 1.3 to 46 feet, but see how many sightings have wingspan estimates from 8-13 feet inclusive: 23 sightings, which is 31% of all those in which wingspan was given numerically. That number, 23, eliminates the number two possibility for jokesters, for if they existed, they would not have given wingspan estimates of 8-13 feet.

Now we compare that five-foot range (8-13) to the five-foot range from 16-21 and see the difference: Only 12 sightings in that range, far fewer than the 23 sightings from 8-13 feet. I chose 16-21 because it is just above the wingspan size of large birds. When we go further up the wingspan size range, we see fewer and fewer sighting reports, which eliminates that kind of hoax potential. Nothing in the wingspan estimates makes any sense when we think about how hoaxes could have skewered the data.

I’m not preaching absolute purity from any hoax contamination in the data. I can’t say whether or not there is complete purity. But there could not be any major contamination. To be plain, there could have been one or two hoaxes among so many, but what would that mean? It would not have any influence on the numerous other sighting reports. Even so, I have not yet seen any evidence that even one of Whitcomb’s reports has any evidence of it being from any hoax.

I also recommend the following:

Tail flange and long tails


Supporting the Bible, yet respecting beliefs of those of various religions, "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" can appeal to many

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – true adventures that support the Bible

From page 181:

I had wondered why so many sightings are in daylight; ropens are nocturnal. Then I began finding clues, including reports of storms that sometimes pass through before sightings. Since a sighting in Georgia in 2008, I sometimes ask about the weather, including for the previous day or two before the sighting.

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