Suppose we take a fishing trip in a small boat, out on the sea. Suppose also that a large Manta ray fish jumps up out of the water, maybe even ten feet into the air. Do you send an email to a cryptozoologist, declaring that you have seen a live pterodactyl? Of course not. Who would?
That strange interpretation of pterodactyl sightings was suggested by a skeptic who believes that modern pterosaurs must be precisely like those known from fossils of creatures that lived in the past. But why should modern creatures conform precisely, in a few arbitrarily-chosen details, to those that we know from fossils? How absurd!
Many things count against the idea that people are seeing fish that jump out of the sea.
Altitude of Flight Wrong for Manta Rays
A Manta ray jumping out of the sea cannot attain any height above about ten feet or so. Here is a small sampling of sightings of what seem to be pterosaurs, flying higher than ten feet:
- Windhoek, Namibia – 2011 – altitude at least 600 feet (above land)
- Orange County, California – 1989 – altitude about 120 feet (above land)
- San Diego, California – 2011 – altitude about 90-120 feet (above land)
- Canada (near Detroit) - 2012 - altitude 20 feet (above land)
- Florida – 2002 – small pterosaur flew over a house
- Georgia (USA) – 2011 – two sightings, both above tree-top altitude
- Canton, Georgia – 1997 – about 1000 feet high
- Big Island of Hawaii – 2012 – about 100 feet high
- Big Island of Hawaii – 2008 – 60-100 feet above the two eyewitnesses
- Oahu, Hawaii – 1971 – about 100 feet high
- Idaho – 1991 – “at least” 200-300 feet high (above a forest)
- Hudson, Kansas – 2012 – it took to the air from trees (above-ground takeoff)
- Louisiana – 2012 – the creature went over some trees
- Meridian, Mississippi - about 2001 – creature flew over trees that were about 75 feet high
- New Jersey - 2009 – “it landed on the tree tops”
- Charlotte, North Carolina – 2009 – “[it flew] directly over the 3 story building I was standing next to”
- Sea between Australia and Indonesia – 2008 – seen from airplane: creature at altitude of 6500 feet
Location Unfriendly to Manta Rays
- Bougainville, New Guinea – 1971 – It flew over a mountain road
- Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea – 1994 – Ropen flew over an inland crater lake
- Mainland of Papua New Guinea – 2006 – Indava seen sleeping high on a mountain cliff
- Southern California – 1987 – flying over a desert
- Wisconsin – about 1980 – flying over a cucumber farm
- Winder, Georgia – 2008 – two sightings of two different creatures over farmlands
Behavior Unlike a Manta Ray
- Maryland-Virginia border – 1990 – flew over a river to perch in a tree
- Orange County, California – 2007 – giant flying creature was chasing birds
- Southern California – 2005 – giant flying creature was drinking from swimming pool
- San Antonio, Texas – 1986 – flying creature that swooped back and forth
- Antwerp, Ohio – 2003 – after flying over a bridge, it caught a sparrow in its mouth
Misidentifications are possibile in many aspects of life, not just in eyewitness sighting reports of extant pterosaurs. But the idea is ridiculous, that Manta rays jumping out of the sea cause people to cry “pterodactyl.” People are smarter than that.
The example given by Drinnon, in his recent post, was a sighting in the Philippines. He said, “The Philippines sighting in specific lends itself to the Manta ray hypothesis most readily.” But when he wrote that article he had very limited information on it. Critical details then came forward, which showed clearly that the sighting was not of a Manta ray fish jumping out of the water.
The cryptozoologist Dale A. Drinnon has come up with some strange ideas to try to explain away accounts of live pterodactyls in Africa and in Papua New Guinea: stingrays, Manta rays, and Hornbill birds. But his ideas fail when details are taken into account.
The critical point is that the man who witnessed the sighting of two apparent pterosaurs was in a CITY, not in a boat. And he saw two of the creatures flying together.
Sighting in Rhode Island
From the book Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition, page 38-39:
“The [animal] had two small claw-like feet on the underside that looked like they would be useless.” A day earlier, she had sent me an email with a general account of what she had experienced: “. . . I heard a loud whooshing noise moving in the air to my right. I saw a huge pterodactyl. It circled my house six times and once it turned its head and looked at me. By the sixth time, it was somewhat lower; it definitely was interested in me. I am not a nut; I’m a mother of two and work in a hospital.”
My friend told me that when they were doing the walk about four years ago, they heard a very loud breathing-like sound coming from under the bridge, and they could hear it some 10 or 20 minutes before they even got to it. Apparently it sort of resonated in the small valley-like area. It was constant and sounded like a shushing sound.
Sighting in North Carolina
The following is from an email sent by an eyewitness to the cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb, in 2012:
I saw what I saw in October 2009 in Charlotte, NC . . . it was at night. I was standing outside my car on the phone when I saw the creature emerge directly over the three story building I was standing next to. The creature was so close my reflex was to duck. It looked like what I had seen in a Jurassic Park movie . . . My instant reaction was to get my cousin, who was in my passenger seat, out the car so I didn’t see it alone. He did, and that is how I know I’m not crazy. I know what we saw.
A series of online pages now gives news media professionals easy access to images and articles.
The December 19, 2010, edition of the Houston Chronicle included an article about Whitcomb’s idea that “flying dinosaurs” may be responsible for the Marfa Lights of western Texas, although the original press release in that story merely compared the ghost lights of Marfa, Texas, with the ropen lights of Papua New Guinea. But eyewitnesses from around the world report flying creatures that do not fit any living bird or bat known to Western science, and some reports include a glow that Whitcomb maintains is bioluminescence.
. . . in southwest Greensburg, Pennsylvaniva, a karate teacher and two of his students were talking outside . . . they saw something that at first could have been mistaken for a large bird. . . . [The karate teacher said:] it caught my eye. Being that far up the “birds” body still appeared to be much larger than my 100 pound dog . . .
“A young man was reported to have seen something strange flying over the Maumee River in the summer of 2003.; he described it like a pterosaur, according to a recently-published book, Live Pterosaurs in America. It was reported to be chasing sparrows as it flew over the Route 49 bridge near Antwerp, Ohio.”
Of course animals, including modern pterosaurs, have no concept of human political boundaries, but one particular flying creature, in about 1990, flew close to the border between Virginia and Maryland, around the Chesapeake area, astonishing the humans who observed it.
“What I saw I remember distinctly and will never forget. I was twenty years old, taking a camping trip with my boss and his friends, and I believe it was near the Maryland-Virginia line in the Chesapeake area . . . My boss and I suddenly saw . . . quite a distance away, a flying object that was strange. Why? Because we knew it was quite far away, but it was as big as a regular bird would appear up close. It was gliding . . . amazement took over. It flew directly over us, about twenty yards above us . . . it perched on a tree about fifty yards past us. A minute later, it flew away along the same river path, and I’ve never seen anything like it since.”
“. . . This [pterosaur] had a pterodactyl protruded head and a rhamphorhynchoid diamond-tipped tail . . . It’s hard to be exact about the size. . . . wing-tip to wing-tip, about 12+ feet? I don’t even know if I’m close. And the length, I’d estimate about 10 feet? It was brown and leathery.”
Richmond, Virginia, Pterosaur
“My father has been the subject of much ridicule after claiming to have seen a ‘dinosaur bird’ . . . His neighbor has a telescope and they’d been watching the sky when they saw it. . . . My father . . . [did] some research and learned that they were called ‘ropen.’ I went online, and to my surprise, Dad wasn’t making it up. I just wanted to go on record . . . they’ve been sighted from here in Richmond.”
Pterosaur Extinction – or non-extinction
“A psychologist at a university in Central China asserts that he saw, in 1971, a prehistoric-looking creature flying in Papua New Guinea. Brian Hennessy . . . described the creature as black or dark brown with a ‘longish narrow tail’ and a beak that was ‘indistinguishable from the head.’”
Mention the word “pterodactyl” or “dinosaur” to a kindergartner and you’ll quite likely get a response like “A comet” or “Millions of years ago . . .”, or “They died a long time ago.” Ask the same child, “How do we know they all died millions of years ago?” and the answer may not come as quickly. When the kindergartner does answer, it will probably be a personal reference such as, “My book says . . .” or “My teacher told me.”
Read the amazing but true stories that newspapers almost never tell their readers: eyewitness reports of living pterosaurs in the United States. Learn for yourself the astonishing secret: Flying creatures, many of which are huge and featherless and many of which have long tails, are not extinct but still living. Be among the less than 1% of Americans who know about these amazing encounters across North America. Read Live Pterosaurs in America.
From a reader: “He [author Jonathan Whitcomb] 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.” (Red Rabbit, Cleveland, Ohio; Amazon.com book review for the first edition of Live Pterosaurs in America)
We now have two sighting reports of a pterosaur (or pterosaurs) in Pennsylvania, regardless of loud proclamations of extinction of all their species, proclamations without scientific proof, proclamations based on tradition and indoctrination.
I observed it for about two minutes as it flew towards us . . . roughly 200 to 300 feet in the air. . . . Being that far up the “bird’s” body still appeared to be much larger than my 100 pound dog (wider and longer). . . . The wingspan appeared to be at least six feet and although it was a bit away from us you could clearly make out a long “horn” or “cone” type protrusion coming out of the back of its skull, which was at the end of an elongated neck.
As it was almost directly over us we all agreed we couldn’t see feathers anywhere and my student Carrie said, “It looks like pterodactyl.” . . . It flew over top us and landed in the water behind the school. . . . We could here it splashing around, and Carrie ran around the building to see it. There are always ducks in that water as well as rats and other things. When she came back in like three minutes she said it had taken off, Carrie said it was in the water splashing and eating or grabbing something in its mouth.
From the second edition of the nonfiction cryptozoology book, page 55:
I live in Philly. [My friend] was dropping me off . . . about six blocks away . . . we saw something that made our jaws drop. . . . This thing didn’t seem to fly quickly. [Its] wingspan was huge. We’d figured at least 20 feet or so. It wasn’t flapping real hard like a sparrow or pigeon does. It almost seemed to sail. It came from the South, and appeared to be heading west [towards the Delaware River]. . . . It had an anvil shaped head and somewhat of a long neck.
Live Pterosaurs in America (second edition)
This nonfiction cryptozoology book will enlighten you about the living “pterodactyls” that sometimes are seen to fly at night. One chapter is devoted to the Marfa Lights of Texas, but many of the 48 contiguous states of the U.S.A. are included: California, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kansas, etc. Find out for yourself about the sighting by Eskin Kuhn, the U.S. Marine who witnessed those two pterosaurs in Cuba, in 1971.