Are sightings of “pterodactyls,” or pterosaurs, from misidentifications?
Searching for Ropens and Finding God - fourth edition nonfiction book by J. D. Whitcomb
Copyright 2014 Jonathan David Whitcomb
Flying fox bat versus ropen - media resources
SFRFG back cover
Up until the late 20th Century, the flying fox explanation was used to dismiss reports of large flying creatures in Papua New Guinea, nocturnal creatures that some people called pterodactyls. Investigations from 1993 through 1996 included brief expeditions, or interview sessions, with native eyewitnesses in and around the island of Umboi. The natives had seen strange flying lights or large featherless flying creatures larger than flying fox bats and obviously a different kind of animal. Why are fruit bats not what was observed? Eyewitnesses do not describe creatures with no tails and with wingspans of seven feet; they observe creatures with tails longer than seven feet and wingspans greater than twenty feet. The first might be ascribed to misidentified flying fox bats; not the second. The first is mostly hypothetical; the second correlates with what most eyewitnesses actually describe. And those larger featherless flyers with long tails are also reported to catch fish, making them even less like fruit bats. Searching for Ropens and Finding God, fourth edition, reveals why the ropen of Umboi Island, and some other locations, differs from the fruit bats known as flying foxes: “No flying fox can terrify a group of islanders by flying over a lake. Furthermore, fruit bats never grow long tails, never eat fish, never glow at night, and never dig up the grave of a recently-deceased human to carry away the body. What do fruit bats eat? Fruit. Think of a miracle of science fiction: If a fruit bat grew to become longer than a village hut, it might devour the garden—but not the gardener. Now think of reality: A fruit bat never impersonates a giant long-tailed Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.” How do flying fox bats differ from ropens? Consider: 1) Ropens glow at night; fruit bats do not. 2) Ropens are said to eat fish, clams, and carrion; fruit bats do not. 3) Large ropens have wingspans between ten feet and fifty-five feet; fruit bats are much smaller. 4) Large ropens have tails longer than seven feet; flying fox bats have tiny tails. 5) A ropen was seen holding itself upright on the trunk of a tree; fruit bats hang upside down from branches. 6) The ropen’s mouth has been described like that of a “crocodile” and the long beak of a bird; The mouth of      the Flying Fox looks like . . . well, a fox. The book Searching for Ropens and Finding God makes it clear: “Some critics interpret “pterodactyls” in Papua New Guinea as misidentified flying foxes: fruit bats. Take a closer look. Around Gomlongon and Opai, villages on Umboi Island, they call this bat byung. Villagers have no fear of byung, for when somebody catches one the reward is a bowl of tasty soup. “When seven boys [around their early teenage years], soon to be men, hike up a mountain and immediately run home in terror, a poor explanation is a surprise encounter with an ingredient of soup.”
Live Pterosaurs in America - 3rd edition - another nonfiction book by Whitcomb
Paul Nation, of Texas, on his expedition on Umboi Island in 2002
It’s not just the general size. The ropen has a very long tail and a long neck.
Brian Hennessy, now a psychologist, saw a flying creature that gave the impression of being “prehistoric.” His answers, on a questionnaire given to him by Jonathan Whitcomb, made it obvious that it was the same creature seen by the soldier Duane Hodgkinson during World War II.
Duane Hodgkinson, in recent decades a flight instructor, saw a huge “pterodactyl” in New Guinea in 1944.
Author J. D. Whitcomb on his expedition on Umboi Island in 2004