Skeptical comments are not always in question-format, but inherent in many criticisms is an idea like this: “How can all those geologists and biologists be wrong about the extinction of pterosaurs?” I’ve written three nonfiction books in which that kind of question has been addressed, although I feel it still has not been covered adequately. Let’s consider five brief explanations for the survival of at least one species of pterosaur.
- Poor foundation two centuries ago
- Over-exuberant promotion of Darwin
- Extreme extinction-indoctrination
- Over-confidence in Western paradigms
- Preference for theory over common experience
1) Extinction Assumptions from late 1700’s to early 1800’s
“Not everybody embraces a live pterodactyl.” In fact, most persons, around the world, have not seen anything that they could feel sure was a “flying dragon” or pterosaur. If those flying creatures are not rare they’re uncommon, and they’re nocturnal or at least mostly nocturnal. Indeed, most Americans and other citizens of Western countries do not even know that anybody is researching reports of extant pterosaurs. In that perspective, look to Europe and turn back the calendar two centuries.
The first few European discoveries of pterosaur fossils, in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, were by a small group of scientists, a select few investigators. It would hardly be surprising, if we could travel back to their time and interview them, to discover that not one of those few Europeans had ever seen a living pterosaur. Then and now, only a small fraction of the European population has seen a living pterosaur.
To the point, those early discoverers of pterosaur fossils only assumed those creatures were extinct. This idea of extinction was carried over to later discoveries of different species of pterosaurs and eventually applied to all creatures of that type. But there never was any evidence for universal extinctions of all species of pterosaurs.
2) Over-exuberant promotion of Darwin’s ideas about evolution
After the writings of Charles Darwin, fossils of dinosaurs and pterosaurs were assumed to be evidence that supported natural selection. The idea that they were all extinct and that all general creatures of those types were all extinct—that supported what was becoming a popular paradigm in Western countries. But the idea of universal extinctions of basic types was always an assumption, never proven.
3) Extreme indoctrination into the universal-extinctions dogma
From the late 1800’s to the present, Americans and other Western peoples have been indoctrinated from childhood into the dogma that all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs became extinct millions of years ago. No evidence is ever given for this concept, for it is a cultural paradigm that is deeply entrenched in Western thinking. This has made it extremely difficult for eyewitnesses to report encounters with creatures very much alive but not classified in Western biology textbooks. How often have Westerners dismissed sighting reports of dinosaur and pterosaur sighting reports as if there must be something wrong with the eyewitness.
I don’t recall that anybody has ever disputed the case for the extinction of many species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs, but the subject is universal extinctions of general types, and that is a completely different subject.
4) Over-confidence in Western paradigms
For many decades, Westerners have seen rapid progress in technology. But part of the price for our technological success is arrogance. We often find it difficult to take seriously any tale of a “flying dragon” when the report comes from a native in a less-developed country. If any American doubts that fact, just search, in American newspapers, for articles on sightings of living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea. I don’t mean obscure blog posts on newspaper web pages or sensationalist publications; I mean print versions of traditional newspapers.
5) American complacency in allowing professors to think for us
(This may very well apply to persons in other Western countries.) Common experience—that reality of shared life—should bind us together. But why do so many of us so often choose to let others think for us. Why assume that everything labeled with “science” must be truth?
When many persons share a similar experience, and it contradicts a cultural paradigm, some of us look at the paradigm, even though most people prefer to just hold onto old traditions. Eyewitnesses around the world see flying creatures that Western professors insist became extinct millions of years ago, but many Americans see the same thing: usually long-tailed, often appearing featherless, sometimes with a head crest, sometimes appearing much larger than any common bird. We need to think for ourselves rather than just assume educated persons must be correct and human experience incorrect.
Live Pterosaurs in America (by Whitcomb) – third edition of this nonfiction cryptozoology book
Portions of Amazon book reviews for the third edition:
Mr. Whitcomb does a thorough job questioning indoctrination and the close-mindedness of the Western world. Reading so many eye-witness reports of people who have seen living pterosaurs in America was mind-opening, to say the least. . . . The passion that Whitcomb and the pterosaur witnesses feel about these investigations make this book a great read and keep the pages turning. . . . [5 stars awarded]
This book is one of the best books that I have ever read! It reminds us to have an open mind and that the things we have all been taught as fact ….may not be fact at all. . . . [5 stars awarded]
Portions of Amazon book reviews for the second edition:
This is an updated review of the book and I am changing my rating to 5 stars. This book has been on my shelf for almost a year now. I pick it up every now and then and a part of me becomes more impressed by the book every time. . . . I highly recommend this. You may find yourself almost believing in it, although that is not even the authors intent! Whitcomb painstakingly reviews every account for credibility and reason. This man is not a crank. He tries to weed out would be hoaxes and miss-identification. This is not a guy looking to create evidence to confirm his own beliefs. On top of this, I have great respect for a guy who follows his dreams so passionately. He has traveled to Papua New Guinea to search for the creature there and this book is somewhat of a sequel if you will. . . . If you are interested in reading about this subject, this is definitely the book to get….because there are almost none other out there. All levity aside, this author has really done a lot of work researching this issue. . . . [another review in which 5 stars are awarded]
I couldn’t put this book down. It is absolutely fascinating to read about eyewitness accounts of the people who have seen these creatures. To learn about these testimonies from such an open minded perspective is refreshing in the extreme! The way that our school systems and scientists alike are indoctrinated is sad. . . . I highly recommend this book to anyone! People should know the truth about what is going on. No one ever hears anything about this unless they conduct extremely specific internet searches, even then, information is minimal. Jonathan Whitcomb needs to write more books! [5 stars awarded again]
The third edition is expanded from the second edition. Buy the third edition of this cryptozoology book. Sometimes the price on Amazon is even less for the most up-to-date version (improved third edition).
Walt Brown’s explanations of geology help answer a question that sometimes comes up for me: “How could pterosaurs have survived to the modern day?”
Because of the great number of sightings worldwide, we now have compiled statistics from 128 accounts. Those 128 reports I chose because they showed signs of general credibility, meaning each one was more likely than not from an observation of an actual living pterosaur.
How often we read something like, “pterosaurs lived from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous Period,” or “became extinct by 65 million years ago.” How rarely we read the simple truth . . . [extinction is not universal].