Birds of a Feather . . .
The problem with assuming that misidentified birds account for the
sightings of apparent pterosaurs in
the 48 contiguous states of
Many of the reports of feather-less flying creatures fail to be reasonably explained as birds or bats. American birdwatching may
help, eventually, but the eyewitnesses remain silent.
What by Jonathan Whitcomb
What flies in the night
As it glows
Bigger than fireflies and bats
Bigger than barn owls
as the crows
But never with feathers
Some critics of living-pterosaur research give bird-misidentification as the explanation for sightings
of creatures described as pterosaurs. The problem is that those critics ignore details; they generalize based on what they imagine
a number of sightings entail.
But the eyewitness of a creature 30 feet long that flies over a road in daylight--that man is
an eyewitness of a bird with a 15-foot long tail and wings with wrinkles instead of feathers.
How can sightings of what eyewitnesses call "pterodactyls" actually be pterosaurs? Those Americans who report
live "pterodactyls" are
not, in general, promulgating hoaxes. But the key to understanding pterosaur non-extinction
is not primarily
in the sighting locations in New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and many other states; it is in the ropen
expeditions in Papua New Guinea from 1994 until 2007. There it began.
Photograph: Forest Lawn Cemetery
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