I want to be objective about this photo that appears to have come from around the time of the American Civil War, and it looks like it has a dead Pteranodon on the ground. If I’ve missed something important, please contact me.

The official name for the photograph is Ptp, but it’s also known as the “Civil War pterodactyl photo.” A rumor includes a reference to Vicksburg, Mississippi, a city I once lived in, and a word for the animal: “monster.”

Don’t confuse it with the Haxan Films fake photo, which was contrived to look like Ptp but is a manipulated image from about the year 2000. Even just a casual glance at the two photos, side-by-side, reveals those are completely different in origin, meaning that one of them was not manipulated to create the other. They are related, however, for the Haxan hoax was made with Ptp as its model, and that has caused confusion, for people don’t always get the opportunity to see the two photos together. Many persons probably assume there’s only one photo, if they know anything about it.

The original Civil War pterosaur photo

People seem to remember Ptp from one or more books, from around the 1950’s or 1960’s, perhaps the 1970’s. At any rate, it seems to have existed from before Photoshop existed. Tom Payne, something of an expert on canoes, told me that he remembers this photo from before the existence of Photoshop. He also told me that the apparent wings of the animal are not halves of a canoe.

Jonathan Whitcomb and Clifford Paiva declared that this is a genuine image of a modern pterosaur

That’s when I fell out of the canoe conjecture. For years, perhaps decades, I had a feeling that those wings looked like some kind of canoe. In 2013, I looked deeper, testing to see if the canoe idea would hold water. I found it difficult to keep my balance in that kind of apparent boat, for no canoe in North America seemed like what I saw in that photo. The canoe expert Tom Payne, early in 2017, knocked me completely out of that boat idea.

Then I saw the astonishing conclusion: If this is not a photo of men standing around a model “pterodacyl,” what else could this be than a Civil War pterosaur photo? That’s when I phoned my friend in California, the physicist Cliff Paiva. He confirmed to me his findings: This is a genuine image with a real animal.

Paiva suggested I write a small book on our evidences of authenticity in the photo. I then wrote Modern Pterosaurs. I really have tried to be objective, but the skeptical criticisms of Ptp have completely failed to explain away this photo. Whether a monster or a pterosaur, the animal is real.

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Civil War pterosaur photo

It’s possible for two similar photos to both be fake. But when one of them was made to closely imitate the older one, it is at least a little suspicious. A counterfeit bill is most likely to be made in imitation of a genuine bill, not another counterfeit. We don’t have an exact correlation between that and the two Civil War pterosaur photos, but there’s enough of a relationship to now deserve our attention.

Dinosaur and Pterosaur Extinction

Consider the following direct evidence for the authenticity of the “pterodactyl photograph” and its significance. Earlier this year (2017), the physicist Cliff Paiva and I independently examined belt buckles on those soldiers in Ptp. We both came to the same conclusion: The soldier that appears to be standing in front of the animal is indeed closer to the camera than the other soldiers.

Pterosaur Photo

About the book Modern Pterosaurs

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Dinosaur Extinction

On April 8, 2017, in philosophy, sighting in North America, by Jonathan Whitcomb

Concepts about dinosaur and pterosaur extinction, in light of the “Pteranodon Photo.”

By the nonfiction cryptozoology author Jonathan David Whitcomb

Consider the following direct evidence for the authenticity of the “pterodactyl photograph” and its significance. Earlier this year (2017), the physicist Cliff Paiva and I independently examined belt buckles on those soldiers in Ptp. We both came to the same conclusion: The soldier that appears to be standing in front of the animal is indeed closer to the camera than the other soldiers.

Genuine image of a pterosaur verified by two scientists

Examinations of both buckles and buttons confirms that this photograph is genuine

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Quoting from the book

The Photoshop conjecture was so popular among many skeptics, before 2017, that I decided to look closer at those images of six men in Ptp. . . .

I numbered the men behind the animal (Figure-22) left to right: BS1  to BS5, knowing the man in front (FS) is closer to us, if the photo is genuine. Magnifying the image until the pixels could be counted, I found that FS has a wider belt buckle, later confirmed by Paiva . . .

I ran a similar test on buttons, finding the width for FS to be slightly greater, consistent with the buckles test.

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Consistent evidence that no Photoshop hoax was involved

The image-sizes of both belt buckles and buttons shows that Photoshop manipulation was unlikely in the “Pteranodon photo.” Those apparent Union Civil War soldiers were apparently standing just as they seem to be, when the photograph was recorded. But was it actually during the American Civil War?

I don’t know (as of April 8, 2017) of anything in the photo itself that indicates that it was recorded before hostilities ceased in 1865. We do have evidence that it was before about the year 1870: the tree-branch prop under the beak.

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evidence of pre-1870 photography in this Civil War photo of a pterosaur

Direct evidence of the use of a prop, consistent with pre-1870 photography

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Photographers in the 1860’s would use props to help keep people from moving during the many seconds involved in taking photographs. In the above magnification, we see what appears to be a tree branch positioned under the beak of the apparent Pteranodon. This is perfectly consistent with the concept that the photo was taken before about 1870.

Conclusion

In spite of the philosophy of Charles Darwin and the dogma of universal extinctions of all types of dinosaurs and pterosaurs, we now have direct evidence that not all “pterodactyls” became extinct many millions of years ago. The photo we now call “Ptp” is from the 19th-century and apparently was recorded in North America, where countless eyewitness continue to see large featherless flying creatures, still living, that are very much unlike any bird or bat.

Of course many species have probably become extinct at some time in the past. But the Flood of Noah resulted in near extinctions rather than total extinctions. And whatever humans have done, over the past few thousands of years, to cause pterosaur extinctions, not all of their species have become extinct.

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The Pteranodon Photo

What may appear, on the surface, to be damning evidence that Ptp is a hoax is, in reality, easily answered. Not only does the apparent evidence for a fraud fall apart . . . but we actually have direct and indirect evidence that this old photograph, with apparent Civil War soldiers, actually comes from that period of history, and those men are probably actual American soldiers.

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Civil War Pteranodon Photo

The winged creature with a Pteranodon-like head . . . —that was officially declared to be a genuine pterosaur by Clifford Paiva and me, Jonathan Whitcomb, on January 14, 2017.

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Civil War Pterosaur Photo

Paiva has much experience in analyzing photographs. My background is more with eyewitness testimonies. Still, I was once a professional event videographer, with experience videotaping weddings, parties, and other events. That experience helped me see something in the Ptp photo, an apparently minor detail that most people would never notice. (See below: “Dragging the Pterosaur Across the Ground.”)

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Modern Pterodactyl

Gideon Koro was a teenager when he and his friends encountered the giant ropen, as it flew over the crater lake, just north of his village. About ten years later, in 2004, the American cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb interviewed Gideon and two of the other eyewitnesses.

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Civil War Pterodactyl Photo

We also need to understand that a more-recent imitation photo is a hoax, or at least a virtual hoax, created for a TV show. Do not confuse these two photos, for on the surface they appear similar. Some persons have been confused, thinking there is only one photograph.

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Extant pterosaur in an old photograph

On January 14, 2017, Clifford Paiva (a physicist in California) and I spoke by phone and agreed that the following photo has an image of a real animal, with real wings.

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Modern Pterosaurs is in harmony with the Flood of Noah

“Many of those who’ve searched for extant pterosaurs, and interviewed eyewitnesses, believe in the Bible, and that includes belief in the literal Flood as recorded in Genesis. We see modern species of pterosaurs as being in perfect harmony with the Flood of Noah.”

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The Old Pteranodon Photograph

On March 27, 2017, in sighting in North America, by Jonathan Whitcomb

Let’s consider the kinds of comments made by skeptics of the photograph we now call “Ptp,” with answers taken from the upcoming cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs.

Criticism: It’s obviously a fake, probably made with Photoshop.

Answer from page 100, from Tom Payne, who remembers the Ptp photo from a book he saw in the 1970’s:

I have a degree in Computer Science. I can tell you that technology [Photoshop] wasn’t available to modify a photo like this before about 1980.

Criticism: The soldier on the far left has missing fingers, showing evidence of a Photoshop hoax.

Answer from page 80 (caption under Figure-11):

The apparently missing fingers and thumb of this soldier can be explained without any reference to a hoax using Photoshop. In fact, such digital image manipulation makes no sense, if the purpose had been to make an image that looked like men standing near a recently killed pterosaur.

Answer from page 81:

But how could digital manipulation cause those fingers to disappear? How else except in pasting a rifle-image onto an image of a soldier holding his arm to one side? . . . Why would any hoaxer search for some old Civil War photo that might have a soldier holding out his arm as if holding a rifle but without the rifle? Why would any American Civil War soldier stand for a photograph while holding out his arm as if holding onto his rifle but without the rifle? How could any soldier in military history be so foolish as to hold out his arm, as if holding his rifle, when he had forgotten to bring the rifle for the photograph?

Criticism: This photo is a hoax, made for a television show.

Answer from page 73:

. . . we need to be clear about another photograph. A hoax was created, around the year 2000, apparently made in imitation of what we now call Ptp. Beware of falling into the trap that others have: confusing the two.

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Jonathan Whitcomb and Clifford Paiva declared that this is a genuine image of a modern pterosaur

The photograph called “Ptp” (not to be confused with a recent photo made for a TV show)

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Conclusion

What may appear, on the surface, to be damning evidence that Ptp is a hoax is, in reality, easily answered. Not only does the apparent evidence for a fraud fall apart, under close examination, but we actually have direct and indirect evidence that this old photograph, with apparent Civil War soldiers, actually comes from that period of history, and those men are probably actual American soldiers.

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Book About the Pteranodon Photograph

Glen Kuban, a critic of living-pterosaur investigators for years, made a mistake regarding Ptp in his long online publication “Living Pterodactyls.” (He also made many other errors in that page, so it will not here be linked to.) [He confused two different photos.]

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Is “Modern Pterosaurs” a Creationist Book?

The nonfiction cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs should be published well before the end of April, 2017. The front cover gives no hint that it supports a Biblical Old Testament point of view, but the back cover clearly does . . .

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American Civil War Pteranodon photograph

This is not about the hoax-photograph, with Civil War reenactors, done for the Freakylinks TV series that was on the Fox Network from 2000-2001. . . . The photograph we’re examining here is called “Ptp” and has been around much longer. It was surely used, by the producers of Freakylinks, as a model for their crude imitation.

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Modern-Pterosaur photograph

The ultimate shocking nonfiction [book]: Scientific validation for the old photograph that was neglected for decades. This has now been declared to have a genuine photographic image of an extant pterosaur, with layers of evidence for authenticity.

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Photo of a modern pterosaur

A skeptic may assume, consciously or not, that he or she is objective while ridiculing me, but I am the expert here. Along with all the skeptics, I am human. Yet I have spent over 10,000 hours, in the course of over thirteen years, investigating this controversial subject, with eyewitness reports coming to me from five continents, mostly in emails but with some significant phone conversations and face-to-face interviews.

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Is “Modern Pterosaurs” a Creationist Book?

On March 23, 2017, in Old Testament, by Jonathan Whitcomb

The nonfiction cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs should be published well before the end of April, 2017. The front cover gives no hint that it supports a Biblical Old Testament point of view, but the back cover clearly does:

A scientific discovery in harmony with the Flood of Noah in the book of Genesis, in support of the Bible

In addition, the copyright page says, “A scientific discovery in harmony with the Bible.” And one paragraph in the introduction of the book makes it clear:

Many of those who’ve searched for extant pterosaurs, and interviewed eyewitnesses, believe in the Bible, and that includes belief in the literal Flood as recorded in Genesis. We see modern species of pterosaurs as being in perfect harmony with the Flood of Noah. Until the announcement on January 14, 2017, our evidences for non-extinct pterosaurs was mostly in testimonies of eyewitnesses. Now we have a photograph to back up sighting reports and support belief in the Flood.

After that, however, only three other pages in the book mention either the Bible or the Flood of Noah. So if you’re looking for a new book about Biblical Creation in general, this might not satisfy you. What about the greatest scientific discovery of recent decades, one that supports the literal Flood of Genesis? That’s another story, and it’s in this nonfiction book.

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Nonfiction book in harmony with the Biblical Flood of Noah

Modern Pterosaurs, Human encounters with living “pterodactyls”

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Evolution and Religion

A big problem with many statements about evolution is that the word is used as if it were precise when, in reality, it has more than one meaning, regarding biology, and many of those who use the word are unaware of the distinctions.

Compare it to the following statement:

Taking a bath can be safer than a shower when a thunderstorm is approaching. Why? During the storm, a bath inside your home gives you more privacy than taking advantage of that shower.

Can a discussion about evolution really be that ludicrous? Precisely. Take three major ideas about biological evolution:

  1. Inherent genetic diversity
  2. Mutational changes in bacteria
  3. Common ancestry (Darwin)

How can evidence for one of those three support belief in another one? Those three concepts are separate, with the first two giving no real credibility to the third.

Several paragraphs in the book explain the “Evolutionary Boundary” experiment that proves that Darwin’s natural selection actually prevents any of the changes he imagined. In other words, real natural selection makes universal common ancestry impossible. Explaining that in detail, however, would take a book in itself.

Conclusion

The nonfiction Modern Pterosaurs is in complete harmony with the concept that the Flood of Genesis was a literal worldwide flood, although detailed explanations of exactly how extant pterosaurs are related to it are lacking. Let’s consider that here:

Pterosaurs survived the Flood because they were sheltered on the Ark. Whether many pterosaurs became extinct before the Flood or after it, some of them are still living.

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New Cryptozoology Book Modern Pterosaurs

The new book has a photograph of an extant pterosaur, verified by me and by the physicist Clifford Paiva. Like my previous books, however, it does contain eyewitness accounts of these amazing flying creatures.

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Religious Bias and the Ropen

I was asked about the possibility of religious bias in the thinking of those who believe the eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs. I replied that bias is not restricted to those who are religious. Why should Christians be singled out for potential bias? Any person of any philosophy may well be biased about particular ideas.

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Civil War Pteranodon Photograph

On January 14, 2017, the physicist Clifford Paiva, of California, and I (Jonathan Whitcomb) jointly agreed that the image of an apparent pterosaur in this photograph is in fact a valid recording of a modern pterosaur.

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The Flood of Genesis, dinosaurs, and pterosaurs

The combination of a head crest and a Rhamphorhynchoid tail is uncommon in pterosaur fossils (but not totally absent from all types); yet that combination is common in eyewitness reports in the past 100 years. For some reason, long-tailed ropens (like Rhamphorhynchoids but sometimes much larger than fossils) may account for more than 60% of all modern pterosaurs, perhaps much more.

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Old Civil War Pteranodon Photograph

If you had asked me about this old photograph, of an apparent pterosaur, 25 years ago, I would have said that it’s probably a hoax. How much I have learned in recent years!

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One little post cannot do justice to all the cryptozoological evidence for the bioluminescence of at least some species of pterosaur that still live on this wonderful planet of life. Non-extinct glow-in-the-dark pterodactyls? With too much evidence to fit into one blog post? And am I, Jonathan Whitcomb, declaring that more than one species of pterosaur is now living? Precisely.

If we had space here, we could get into how we know this bioluminescence is intrinsic (rather than a glow beyond the control of the animal possessing it). Ropen bioluminescence is under at least some control, and the large flying creature that glows as it flies over Umboi Island, in Papua New Guinea, appears to decide when to turn on that glow. It lasts for only a few seconds and appears, in this particular species, to never vary in that length of a flash: five to six seconds.

Since we have room for only an introduction, we’ll begin with the ropen of the southwest Pacific. We’ll then touch on three related subjects:

  • Marfa Lights
  • “Fire-breathing” dragons
  • Fiery flying serpent (Bible)

Ropen of Papua New Guinea

The following is a videotaped interview I had with an old man in Opai Village, Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, in 2004, during my expedition on that tropical island:

Michael, a native of Opai Village, tells Whitcomb about a grave robbery

From this testimony, it seems that a large bioluminescent scavenger lives on Umboi Island. Yet by itself this interview I had with this old native does not appear sufficient to convince many Western skeptics that the ropen is a gigantic bioluminescent pterosaur. After all, Michael did not see any wings on the animal but only a light associated with a grave robbery. We need to dig deeper.

I led the first of the two Umboi Island ropen expeditions of 2004. The majority of the natives I interviewed had seen only a flying light, not any form or features of the ropen. So why think that the flying light seen over this tropical island on some nights is a modern pterosaur? It’s not just the traditions about this flying creature. Some islanders have seen the shape and features of this animal.

A few eyewitnesses have seen the ropen at a closer range, including four natives whom I interviewed a few days before I finished my expedition on Umboi Island. I was delighted to return to the mainland of Papua New Guinea with videotaped interviews of three islanders who had seen the ropen clearly in daylight. I had no doubt that it was a large living pterosaur.

So what is the connection between a flying creature that appears to be, in daylight, a pterosaur and a flying light after sunset? A few eyewitnesses have seen both the glow and the pterosaur shape. Let’s consider the testimonies of two Umboi Island eyewitnesses: Jonah Jim and Jonathan Ragu.

Both of these men had witnessed a flying ropen, although the sightings were in different years (2001 and 2004) and in different parts of Umboi Island. Both Jonah Jim and Jonathan Ragu chose the Sordes pilosus when given a choice of dozens of silhouettes of birds, bats, and pterosaurs to choose from. Both men saw the shape and features of the ropen and also a glow coming from the animal’s body. These two sightings connect the flying light with an apparent pterosaur.

Marfa Lights in Texas

Not all mysterious lights appearing near Marfa, Texas, are car headlights on a highway. A few times each year the strangest lights appear, although they stay for only about one or two nights at a time. Why do they not generally appear for three or more nights in a row? After all, they keep coming back every few weeks throughout the year. They behave in a way strongly suggesting they are a group of bioluminescent flying predators and intelligent ones at that.

They hunt whatever they hunt in an area of desert at night for a night or two and then move on to another area of Texas or south to Mexico. The evidence is circumstantial—I’ve never heard of anyone catching one of the creatures—but nevertheless it is broad and deep, this circumstantial evidence.

By the way, many of the sightings of living pterosaurs in the United States are in Texas, and a small portion of those reports include descriptions of a glow coming from the flying creatures.

Fire-Breathing Dragons

Those cryptozoologists who have long studied eyewitness accounts of living pterosaurs—they generally believe that some of the old legends of fire-breathing dragons come from, or are inspired by, sightings of large bioluminescent pterosaurs in early human history.

Fiery Flying Serpent

We also believe that Old Testament references to fiery flying serpents are accounts of human interaction (however unpleasant) with long-tailed (Rhamphorhynchoid) pterosaurs that are bioluminescent.

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Gitmo Pterosaur of Cuba - eyewitness and artist Patty Carson

The “Gitmo pterosaur” of eastern Cuba (sketch by an eyewitness)

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Glowing pterosaurs may attack farm animals

At around 10:30-11:30 p.m., the nearby farm animals became greatly disturbed, making alarming sounds, as if they were in danger. . . . That was about the time that 12-year-old Dallin Roberts saw something very strange in the sky. . . . He soon realized that it was a flying creature. Two things struck him as very odd, however: the enormous size and the glowing body of the flying animal.

Modern pterosaurs and the ropen

I, Jonathan Whitcomb, have received reports directly from eyewitnesses who report encountering living pterosaurs on five continents . . .

Long Tail of the Ropen

The Fiery Flying Serpent of the Bible may have been a long-tailed Rhamphorhynchoid [a “basal” pterosaur], related to the modern-day ropen.

Bioluminescent flying predators in Texas

“Reports of unusual lights east of Marfa extend back to the 1800s. . . . the author finds that while most of the observed lights in this area can be explained, about 3 percent are truly mysterious and of unknown origin.”

Live pterosaur book review

A number of the sightings suggest bioluminescence. I really did not expect that. Glow in the dark pterosaurs in the USA? It just gets weirder.

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Advertisement

Nonfiction book on modern pterosaurs

Please support this investigation by purchasing your own copy of the nonfiction cryptozoology book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition). Thank you.

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Religious “Bias” and the Ropen

On April 22, 2016, in philosophy, by Jonathan Whitcomb

A few years ago, I was the guest on a radio or podcast talk show of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. The two hosts were polite and appeared to be fair, even though my declarations about modern pterosaurs surely would have had few believers among the listeners of the broadcast. Ropens would not likely be given much belief from those who would listen to such a radio or podcast broadcast.

One point I remember clearly. I was asked about the possibility of religious bias in the thinking of those who believe the eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs. I replied that bias is not restricted to those who are religious. Why should Christians be singled out for potential bias? Any person of any philosophy may well be biased about particular ideas.

Is it reasonable to assume that someone coming up with a revolutionary idea, not yet proven, must be thinking unclearly? Must a person with a strange-sounding new idea be wrong? Of course not.

Bias Against Albert Einstein

Remember the plight of Albert Einstein soon after the end of World War II. How might we have reacted, if we were citizens of England at that time? Many of our friends and family members could have been dead from the bullets and bombs and poisonous gas from German soldiers. Now some obscure German Jew is telling the world that the great English scientist Isaac Newton was wrong about how the universe behaves? How could Einstein have responded to that bias?

Are Eyewitnesses Biased?

Those who have seen featherless flying creatures that were obviously not bats—those persons live in various countries, come from various backgrounds, believe in various religious or irreligious ideologies, and have grown up in various cultures and family backgrounds. I dare any skeptic to proclaim that all of those eyewitnesses are plagued by bias related to Christian young-earth creation ideas. I have interviewed persons from five continents, and their answers sometimes reveal the obvious: Most of the eyewitnesses did not have any special attraction toward young-earth-creation ideology, when they saw a flying creature that looked like a “dinosaur bird” or “pterodactyl” or “flying dinosaur.”

Yet the descriptions are strikingly similar:

  1. Long tails on the flying creatures (41%=yes and only 2%=no)
  2. Lack of feathers (21%=positive on featherlessness and 25%=probably no feathers)
  3. Tail flange suggesting a Rhamphorhynchoid (28.5% reported a tail flange)
  4. Long neck (shooting down the Frigate bird conjecture)
  5. Head crest (24%=head crest seen and only 3.5%=not seen)
  6. Many sightings are of flying creatures larger than birds

By the way, the great majority of apparent pterosaurs are not the ones commonly portrayed in science fiction movies and television programs. They are not short tailed Pteranodons but long-tailed Rhamphorhynchoids, what my associates and I call ropens.

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YouTube Video Introduces Viewers to the Ropen

This video begins with images of farm animals, and the sound is a combination of those farm animals and an orchestration of the old piano piece by Robert Schumman: “The Happy Farmer.”

Are Religious People More Biased?

How often have I encountered the objections of critics who would dismiss the work of creationist living-pterosaur investigators because of assumed bias! The critics assume that belief in the Bible causes bias. Why not look more carefully?

Ropen on Creation Wiki

An old online page on the modern long-tailed pterosaur:

According to the recent investigators David Woetzel, Garth Guessman, and Jonathan Whitcomb, over 90% of the sightings of the ropen on Umboi Island are of the “ropen light.” Whitcomb’s book (Searching for Ropens) suggests that most of these sightings are of one giant creature that sleeps in the island interior during the day; at night it feeds on reefs (at least on the northern and southern coasts where the three investigators explored). The two expeditions of 2004 independently interviewed eyewitnesses who reported that the bright glow of the ropen lasts for about five to six seconds.

Ropen of Umboi Island

This island appears ideal for the species and large  ropens may claim the interior mountains of some  similar islands. The nocturnal creatures may do better when they can sleep in daylight in secure nesting areas on mountains close to the reefs of the coastlines.

Eyewitnesses of the Ropen

Reasons to believe eyewitnesses who claim  to have seen a giant ropen and describe it in terms suggesting a pterosaur

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