Living Pterosaurs Worldwide

Whether an eyewitness says "pterodactyl" or "flying dinosaur" or "prehistoric bird," that person is often shocked to see something that "should not" have been seen, at least if the sighting was in a Western country. In a third world country like Papua New Guinea, an eyewitness might say "duwas" or "seklo-bali" or "indava," and neighbors would only think that person unlucky . . . not crazy.


The most common word known worldwide, for modern living pterosaurs, may be "ropen." Technically, the origin of "ropen" is from the natives of Umboi Island (Siasi, Papua New Guinea) who speak the local village language of Kovai. In Western countries, the word refers to a long-tailed featherless flying creature that appears to be neither a bird nor a bat.


Statistics of Pterosaur Sightings

According to data that I, Jonathan Whitcomb, compiled at the end of 2012:

  • For those reports designating presence or absence of a long tail, 95% reported a long tail. Only 5% reported the flying creature did not have a long tail.
  • The average wingspan estimate was 14.5 feet, but the range was great: from less than two feet to forty-six feet.
  • 75% of reported sightings were in the United States. This relates to how common it is for Americans to communicate in English by email. It does not mean that most modern pterosaurs live in the USA.
  • 24% of the reports included some description suggesting a head crest. Only 3.5% reported a lack of a head crest. The actual number of modern pterosaurs with head crests may be much more than 24%. Several factors can prevent an eyewitness from noticing a head crest (viewing angle, small size of head crest, etc).


Hoaxes Eliminated

Statistical analysis of the data from 128 sightings reveals that the reports could not, as a whole, have been influenced in any significant degree by hoaxes. This comes from three independent criteria:


  1. Certainty of featherlessness, according to eyewitnesses
  2. Wingspan estimates
  3. Dominance of descriptions of long tails


From the Preface of the Kindle book:

Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea

"You will here find reports of encounters with apparent living pterosaurs, including many accounts never before published in any book. Other sighting reports are condensed from the print book Searching for Ropens. The ebook you are now examining is neither exhaustive nor rudimentary, but it explains most of what most Australians, and others, need to know about what might, on rare occasions, fly over their heads at night." 


Pterodactyl in Georgia

 "I don’t know how to say this any other way except that I have seen these very large birds that don’t even come close to looking like anything else I’ve ever seen. I believe them to be Pterosaurs or something similar to them. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, and I know they went extinct a log time age, but the fact remains that I have seen three of these birds in the past year and a half. . . ."

Pterosaur Eyewitness

"If you have seen a living pterosaur, you are not alone. This blog is to help you gain understanding about your sighting by comparing it with others' experiences."


Pterosaurs in Georgia

"Two sightings of living pterosaurs were reported in December, 2012, for the state of Georgia. One of the reports came from David Schroder . . ."


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