How I looked for living pterosaurs, by Jonathan Whitcomb
I was amazed at what the natives of Papua New Guinea told the interviewers. The home video I watched in 2003 convinced me that the eyewitnesses had seen a strange flying creature. I was a forensic videographer with an eye to how a witness displays honesty through testimony; the simple villagers were telling the truth about what they had seen.
After watching Paul Nation's video footage of the eyewitness testimonies, I considered traveling to Papua New Guinea myself. During the preparations for my late-2004 expedition, I sometimes wondered if there might have been a mistake. After all, I was about to travel to the other side of the world to look for live flying dinosaurs; I needed a
bit of reassurance. I got it from an old World War II veteran: Duane Hodgkinson (now living in Montana).
Summary (See "2004 Expedition")
The veteran was west of Finschhafen (New Guinea, now the independent country Papua New Guinea), in 1944, when he saw the giant "pterodactyl" fly up from the ground and circle back to the clearing. That creature had a wingspan of about thirty feet (Piper Tri-Pacer airplane size).
I interviewed Hodgkinson (and two Australians who had a similar sighting) by email and by phone. The demeanor of these three English-speaking eyewitnesses convinced me that the natives were correct in their descriptions. I traveled, late in 2004, to Papua New Guinea, where I interviewed native eyewitnesses and explored Umboi Island, in search of the live pterosaurs.
After two weeks on Umboi Island, I learned that there was only one large ropen on this island, and it was too difficult to find in such a short time. I was disappointed but had to be satisfied with the interviews.
I returned home to the United States, with video footage of many native eyewitnesses. Although I returned without any photo or video of any pterosaur, I carried a firm conviction of the reality of the ropen of Papua New Guinea: Pterosaurs live!
Whitcomb on Umboi Island
Copyright 2008, 2009 Jonathan Whitcomb