Who is an expert on live pterosaurs? Only a few nonfiction books and maybe two scientific papers have been written on modern living pterosaurs, so what makes a person an expert? Probably no college or university offers even one class on this narrow niche of cryptozoology, so let’s define an expert as one who has interviewed at least three eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs (or been directly involved with at least three interviews), since the beginning of this century.
Please excuse the repetition, but we also need to review some of the names for modern pterosaurs (English-language and otherwise):
Pterodactyl, dragon, flying dinosaur, prehistoric bird, dinosaur bird, ropen, indava, seklo-bali, wawanar, kor
Exploring Papa New Guinea
The following four Americans have explored in Papua New Guinea, within the past eleven years, searching for living pterosaurs in remote tropical rain forests. This is not an all-inclusive list but few other cryptozoologists, if any, have given nearly so much of their time in this kind of search. I list these adventurous explorers in order of when they first interviewed eyewitnesses in Papua New Guinea.
This expert in ratites (flightless birds like ostriches) first became involved in ropen searches by accompanying Carl Baugh (who no longer searches for living pterosaurs) on an expedition on Umbi Island, PNG. In 2002, Paul took his son Nathanael to Umboi, where they talked with many natives but saw no ropen.
Paul was instrumental in helping organize the two ropen expedition of 2004, both of which were searches on Umboi. He was unable to go along that year but had his own expedition with Jacob Kepas, late in 2006, deep in the mainland of Papua New Guinea. That expedition resulted in one daylight sighting of a giant indava by Kepas and several nighttime indava-light sightings by Nation. The video footage recorded by Nation in 2006, showing two glowing objects near the top of a ridge near Tawa Village, was found to be strange: not any camp fires or airplane lights or flash lights or meteors any other commonplace explanation.
On the sideline, the indava lights are seen just south of the area where the British biologist Evelyn Cheesman saw strange flying lights in the 1930’s. But the duration of the lights Cheesman saw relate more closely to the ropen lights of Umboi than the indava lights, even though Umboi is further away and in a different environment (coastal reefs for ropens to fish rather than deep jungle interiors).
With the advisory help of Paul Nation, Whitcomb was able to embark on his own expedition on Umboi Island, in 2004. Like David Woetzel, he eventually wrote a scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal of science, on this subject. Whitcomb has written two books (in multiple editions) and about a thousand web pages and blog posts on living pterosaurs. A few of his web pages are non-English including French, German, Hungarian, Spanish, Japanese, and Polish. He receives emails from eyewitness from around the world and may be the world’s leading expert in worldwide sighting reports. He may be the only cryptozoologist who devotes anything close to a full-time effort, six days a week for eight years, to the subject of living pterosaurs. His controversial ideas have been noted in various newspapers, mostly American, including the Houston Chronicle.
With David Woetzel and native Jacob Kepas, Garth Guessman explored Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, searching for ropens. Just a few weeks after the Whitcomb expedition, these three explorers interviewed many islanders, most of whom had not been interviewed by Whitcomb.
According to Creationwiki:
Guessman’s knowledge of Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur fossils allowed him to notice an important clue about the ropen‘s classification [being the same kind of flying creature]. [Guessman and Woetzel] learned that the native traditions describe the ropen‘s tail as being stiff, never moving except near where it connects to the body. Guessman recognized that this relates to the stiffening extension rods of Rhamphorhynchoid vertebrae: all but a few vertebrae are locked into stiffness; the few that are flexible are near where the pterosaur’s tail connects to the body.
Guessman has lectured in church and creation-association meetings and continues to support the concept of modern living pterosaurs and their relevance to the origin of life.
They call it li’kela-bembe, and they revere it for its fierce reign over the Boumba river. They have never told a soul about this muscled beast that feasts on molombo fruit and pummels crocodiles with its serpentine tail – because nobody ever asked.
Nobody, that is, until last November, when Concord businessman David Woetzel went crashing through the virgin forests of Cameroon on the trail of this much-rumored but ever-elusive modern-day dinosaur. Now, thanks in part to Woetzel, this mysterious li’kela-bembe may be roaming into range of a camera lens for the first time.
But David Woetzel has searched jungles other than in Africa and for creatures other than dinosaurs (pterosaurs are scientifically classified as being seperate from dinosaurs). Although he never saw the dinosaur in Africa, he did see the ropen light in Papua New Guinea.
“My sighting was so quick that it was impossible to get a video—maybe 2 seconds . . . almost golden and shimmering around the edges. It looked like an old-fashioned street light in the fog. There was no tail and it was flying horizontal from Mt. Barik toward Mt. Tolo.” (Woetzel was interviewed by Jonathan Whitcomb soon after this sighting)
Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition of the nonfiction book by Jonathan David Whitcomb)
About eyewitness accounts of living pterosaurs, Jonathan Whitcomb has written more books, more web pages, and more blogs than any other person on earth. . . . After interviewing many natives [on Umboi Island, in 2004], he returned to the United States convinced of the identity of the ropen: a living Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur; but he did not return to his former profession: He became a writer, proclaiming to the world that pterosaurs are still living.