Giant Bat or Pterosaur?

Although Hodgkinson’s tail-length estimate is only rough, it seems that the wingspan of that “pterodactyl” was about twice the tail length. Gideon’s estimates appear similar, when we accept the probability that he did not understand the English word “wingspan” (when he estimated the wing size, he was referring to the length of one wing). That is consistant with the reactions of those two groups of eyewitnesses. Hodgkinson and his army buddy were amazed at the flying creature that had a wingspan of almost 30 feet. Gideon Koro and his six teenaged friends were terrified at the flying creature that had a wingspan of over 40 feet.

Other differences may have played a part. In 1944, two armed adult soldiers saw a creature that was flying away from them. About half a century later, several unarmed boys saw a creature that had a reputation: The ropen of Umboi Island is a being that those islanders know to avoid.

Giant Bat

In Western cultures, the idea of universal pterosaur extinction is so deeply ingrained that eyewitnesses find it difficult to use that word, for it makes them feel unbelievable. “Pterodactyl” is the same. The description details make the distinction between bat and pterosaur, in the critical sightings.


front and back covers of "Live Pterosaurs in America" nonfiction book


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