Ropen Search by Destination Truth

On January 26, 2013, in Sighting in Papua New Guinea, by Jonathan Whitcomb

The first-season television broadcast of an episode of Destination Truth (on the SyFy Channel), in 2007, involved a search in a jungle in Papua New Guinea, looking for a dinosaur-like animal that somebody suggested might be an iguanodon. That was on the island of New Britain, just east of the smaller island of Umboi (home of the ropen).

In the first half of the third episode, broadcast in 2007, a Destination Truth team searches for a ropen in Salamaua, Papua New Guinea. I found it interesting that they sometimes used the word “ropen,” even though that word is used by Kovai-speaking natives on the island of Umboi; in other villages in other areas of Papua New Guinea, “ropen” means nothing or something other than a large featherless nocturnal flying creature that glows.

Josh Gates seems to lead all the expeditions, in all seasons of Destination Truth, and he often does well in working through problems that would cause most people to give up entirely. In the ropen episode, the expedition team began searching for a promising cave on the eastern coast of the mainland of Papua New Guinea. At first, they were led up into a jungle by a native guide who eventually admitted that he was not sure where the cave was located: the trees were the wrong size. Josh took charge and led the team out of that jungle, and they discontinued using that guide.

When the explorers did find a cave, Josh led the camera operator in exploring it. They found bones, eventually many human bones, and quickly exited that cave. To their credit, the team then set up four video cameras to continuously monitor what was around the cave, in four directions.

They located a distant flying light, something far beyond the cliff, something quite bright (considering the distance). The video recording of that flying light was later taken back to the United States for analysis. The two video experts found nothing common about the image: not a camera aberration, not anything that would discredit the bioluminescent-flying-animal idea. I praise the Destination Truth team for that successful episode.


During the ropen expedition of 2007, Josh Gates discovers many bones in a cave. They appear to be human bones.

Josh finds many bones, possibly human, in the cave


The Destination Truth expedition team videotaped, in Salamaua, Papua New Guinea, a strange flying light

Flying light image from one of the video camera recordings in Salamaua


Destination Truth Ropen Episode

I’m thinking about a particular native who was interviewed by Josh Gates, during the Destination Truth expedition of 2007: Fabian.

Science and Modern Pterosaurs

But what do all those numbers mean? What can we learn? Perhaps the most important is that no hoaxes played any significant role in the sighting reports.

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