Living-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb was interviewed for “The Conspiracy Show” on May 5, 2012, to be broadcast later this year in Canada. Richard Syrett questioned him on reports of pterosaurs or dragons in history and about his expedition in 2004.
I also mentioned the possibility that some of the Marfa Lights in Texas are the bioluminescence of nocturnal flying creatures that may be related to the ropen of Papua New Guinea. I mentioned how the light splittings and rejoinings may be large flying creatures hunting the Big Brown Bat at night.
Syrett also asked me about my creationist beliefs. I mentioned my differing view of the first part of Genesis: I don’t think it refers to the creation of the universe. Regarding the meaning of living pterosaurs, I referred to the Flood of Noah, that it demonstrates how God protecting the basic types of life, protecting life from extinction.
The questions included the subject of how modern pterosaurs have remained hidden from general knowledge for so long and how they have survived until the present.
From the book Searching for Ropens, second edition:
As the ship plowed through the temperate night, I began talking with those around me. They were curious why an American was going to Umboi Island. When I told them I was looking for a creature called ropen, they became interested. Some had heard about the creatures, and Gibson Kuvurio, from Pilio Island (off the southern coast of West New Britain), told me of the legend of wawanar, the dragon that flies around at night: It “owns the land and the sea.” Many gathered around us as I related what I knew about the ropen and shared my belief that the creature glows at night to catch fish.
I have been communicating by emails with this eyewitness, although the pterosaur sighting was many years ago. A critical point, missed by critics, is the physical closeness to the flying creature, even when the encounter was years ago. In this case, the two eyewitnesses were only about twenty feet away from the “teradactyl,” when they first saw it flying away from them, in western Arkansas. I here include some of what she told me.
“My father and I saw a huge, featherless bird [later labeled "teradactyl"] in Arkansas [summer of 1977] . . . when I was 16. I’ve been telling people my story since. We were sitting on big rocks at a cliff about 300 foot above the river when it flew out just under us and we watched it all the way down toward the river till it passed the tree lines. It was an awesome experience, indeed. It was however smaller, and wing span of maybe 8 ft and had a large head.
[The father passed away in 1991.] “We went back several times, he and I, and sat and waited but never saw it again. . . . We talked and agreed it looked like a small teradactyl. The skin kind of like an elephant?? . . .”
I sent the eyewitness many questions, a few at a time, by email, and she answered them promptly. Here are a few.
Q: Did the creature have a tail?
A: yes, but it was not bird-like, (fanned or feathered)
Q: How would you compare the length of the tail, compared with other things: a) similar to the length of one wing b) similar to the length of both wings (wingspan, tip-to-tip) c) Other
A: “similar to the length of one wing”
Q: Did you notice any detail or details on the head?
A: Large pointed head, we couldn’t see the mouth because it was going the other direction from us.
She was positive that the flying creature had no feathers. She estimated the neck was about a foot and a half long (that alone eliminates a Frigate Bird misidentification). She also mentioned a “pointed crown” on the head; it was ”long and curved back toward the neck.”
Another mountain in Arkansas
(Perhaps not closely related to the Arkansas pterosaur, but maybe)
Those “mystery lights” are probably the bioluminescent glow of nocturnal flying predators, probably hunting the Big Brown Bat or other prey at night . . . “Why are ML-III not usually seen for many nights in a row? Why are they absent for so many nights in a row? Why do they keep coming back after a few weeks of absence? This is exactly what we would expect of large predators that cover large areas. . . .”
Eight years of accumulated data-gathering, and recent analysis of some of that data, continue to support the hypothesis that the more-mysterious Marfa Lights of southwest Texas are caused by the bioluminescence of a group of flying predators. The newest revelation shows a coorelation between air temperature and the number of sightings of the mystery lights.
Of the fifty-two sightings recorded by James Bunnell (author of the nonfiction book Hunting Marfa Lights), he included much information in his book, including temperatures when each sighting began. (He also noted that the lights can appear at any season of the year.) None of those temperatures were below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. About 15% were from 20-40 degrees, 25% were 40-60 degrees, and 58% were from 60-80 degrees (one sighting began when it was over 80 degrees). This is consistent with a group of nocturnal predators that need to hunt year round, but find it more challenging to find prey on colder nights.
How does a preference for non-cold weather relate to flying predators in Texas? In this high desert area of southwest Texas, it’s probably easier for the predators to catch food when it’s not very cold, for small animals are more likely to be underground when the temperature drops below freezing at night.
This relates to my last post on this blog: “Science and Marfa Lights,” for the above reasoning comes from data from the same table on pages 270-279 of Bunnell’s book:
When a group of intelligent predators has a successful hunt, they may, on the next day (or the next night for nocturnal predators) repeat what was recently successful, assuming the hunting conditions are similar. Applying this to the hypothesis mentioned so often recently . . . we would expect to find a few consecutive nights with ML activity and maybe even with a similar start time for the appearances. This has been found and published by James Bunnell, although he has not yet admitted the plausibility of my hypothesis, at least not to my knowledge.
Getting back to those temperatures, CE Mystery Lights around Marfa, Texas, do appear in the winter, on occasion, but I believe those nights are mostly warmer than the usual winter nights. I don’t have detailed weather information for this area of Texas, so I am not sure of the significance of this aspect of the data. But if Bunnell’s data is correct, the eight sightings in winter nights (2000-2008) are significant in the average temperature when those sightings began: 39.4 degrees Fahrenheit. I believe that is higher than the average night temperature for this part of Texas in the winter, even when early-night temperatures are considered.
The following are excerpts from readers reviews of various editions of the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America (now in its expanded third edition):
Mr. Whitcomb does a thorough job questioning indoctrination and the close-mindedness of the Western world. Reading so many eye-witness reports of people who have seen living pterosaurs in America was mind-opening, to say the least. . . . (five stars for the third edition)
This is an updated review of the book and I am changing my rating to 5 stars. This book has been on my shelf for almost a year now. I pick it up every now and then and a part of me becomes more impressed by the book every time. Yes, the skeptics will laugh at it, but I am a skeptic to. . . . (five stars for the second edition)
He has focused on the accounts of witnesses who saw something, and that adds credibility. The writing is easy to read and he adds comments and analysis to make it all more useful. Mostly, the author lets the sightings speak for themselves, which is good. A worthwhile book. . . . (five stars for the first edition)
From the dragons of my last post (on The Bible and Modern Pterosaurs), I turn to the science of Marfa Lights, with reference to “Analyzing Data for a Marfa Lights Interpretation,” from the blog Modern Pterosaur. The latter post may be difficult for some readers to understand (the language is more protracted than overly technical), so I’ll summarize it.
In the book Hunting Marfa Lights, by James Bunnell, pages 270-279 contain a table with dozens of ML (mystery light) sightings with much information on dates, times, and weather conditions. The recent excitement on some blogs comes from a recent enlightenment centered on the dates July 14-15, 2006 (Texas time), in particular on the times that those mystery lights first appear each night: Thirty-eight and thirty-seven minutes after sunset respectively. This now seems extremely significant.
We need context here. On a typical night when one or more of Bunnell’s cameras picks up mystery lights, the start time for their appearance usually differs greatly from the start time of the previous night in which there was an appearance. Consecutive nights of appearances are a critical exception, but let’s keep to the general case for the moment. For example, on August 11, 2006, the first appearance (“start” time) of an ML was three hours and forty-three minutes after sunset; the next appearance recorded was on October 19, 2006, with start time of just fifteen minutes after sunset. That is a difference of three hours and twenty-eight minutes. The average difference in start times, when consecutive nights are eliminated, is two hours and thirty-six minutes. Regardless of what hypothesis one chooses, this divergance seems reasonable, for why should there be any close coorelation in start times, on apparently random nights of ML activity?
Consider the general case for groups of intelligent predators, the ones that use sophisticated group hunting techniques, then apply this to the present hypothesis involving Marfa Lights as possibly bioluminescent predators.
When a group of intelligent predators has a successful hunt, they may, on the next day (or the next night for nocturnal predators) repeat what was recently successful, assuming the hunting conditions are similar. Applying this to the hypothesis mentioned so often recently (a group of scientifically-unclassified nocturnal flying predators, having bioluminescent capability, hunting, on some nights, around southwest Texas), we would expect to find a few consecutive nights with ML activity and maybe even with a similar start time for the appearances. This has been found and published by James Bunnell, although he has not yet admitted the plausibility of my hypothesis, at least not to my knowledge.
Why are those start-times on July 14-15, 2006, extremely significant? If the night of July 14th was very successful for nocturnal hunters, they might have returned on the night of July 15th, even a minute earlier than the previous night, out of anticipation. A slight difference in the weather would not distract nocturnal predators on the second night. But what about some hypothesis of non-living energy forces or atmospheric energies? Would not a weather change from one night to another make a significant difference in when and how lights would appear? Of course. Well it so happens that Bunnell’s data for those nights of July 14th and July 15th does show a weather change, not enough to distract determined predators but easily enough to change how non-living energy forces might produce lights in the fields near Marfa, Texas.
On the second night, the temperature at start-time was 3.6 degrees cooler (F.), the dew point was higher, the wind speed was almost six mph faster, and the humidity was considerably higher. The wind direction and visibility were the same, but those other differences were enough to discount any reasonable prediction, using a non-living-energy-source hypothesis, that ML’s would appear at almost the same time two nights in succession. How different from the intelligent-predator hypothesis!
But what if that one pair of nights was a coincidence? Well it so happens that Bunnell’s data shows three other pairs of consecutive nights, and the differences, in minutes, in start times are as follows: 46, 19, and 11, far below the random difference of 156 minutes for nights that were not back-to-back. Averaging out the four critical differences, we get about 19 minutes, quite small compared with 156. For those interested, the particular date-pairs are Nov 24-25, 2000, May7-8, 2003, July 14-15, 2006, and July 15-16, 2006.
Also important, a three-day succession involved similar start times, in minutes after sunset: July 14-15-16, 2006: 38, 37, 48 (the first two were mentioned previously). On the third night was another minor change in weather, including a slight change in wind direction (July 16). The average difference in start times, for those two successions of nights with sightings recorded, is only six minutes. How small is that compared with the random 156-minute difference!
On a night when a lion pride hunts—maybe every night somewhere in Africa—the prey can be as big as an elephant; but let’s assume the prey is smaller and confined to a particular area for at least several nights . . . Would not a successful hunt, by hungry lions on a particular night, compel those lions to return to the same area the next night? If they had ever hunted successfully in the same area, two nights in succession, of course it would. But if a particular area gives no reward on one night, the lions could move quite some distance away on the next night, returning to the first area perhaps later in the year . . .
Non-living energies do not make complex flying patterns like the ones seen around Marfa, Texas. But Marfa Lights fly like they’re directed by intelligence and the ropen of Papua New Guinea is an intelligent flying predator that also glows as it flies.