Category Archives: Ropen

PNG native Jacob Kepas (left) is interviewed by Josh Gates

About Investigators of Living Pterosaurs

By Jonathan D. Whitcomb

First, please see the following page:

Living Pterosaurs

It’s a long page that tells a little about each of twelve men who have investigated reports of extant pterosaurs and have searched for those flying creatures. Most of their expeditions have been in Papua New Guinea.

Here, however, we look at only two of those men and add two more: Carl Baugh and Josh Gates. Consider this as a supplement to the above “about us” page.

Paul Nation

In many of my publications, both online and in books, I’ve mentioned the contributions Paul Nation has made through his expeditions in Papua New Guinea as he has searched for living pterosaurs. Yet he has done more than that.

He helped me and David Woetzel and Garth Guessman in preparing for our two expeditions on Umboi Island in 2004, and that was a major help. In addition, Paul Nation helped missionary Jim Blume in getting a new rudder onto his plane, in 2017, on the mainland of Papua New Guinea. Get the details here: Fifth expedition by Paul Nation. On his blog, he has written much about his investigation of reports of living pterosaurs.

David Woetzel

Aside from searching for living dinosaurs and pterosaurs in various areas of the planet, David Woetzel wrote a scientific paper that was published in a peer-reviewed journal: “The Fiery Flying Serpent.” Much of it explains how early records in human history, including into the 19th century, relate to the concept that some species of pterosaurs have lived with humans.

Carl Baugh

This Biblical creationist went on two expeditions in Papua New Guinea, in the 1990’s, in search of living pterosaurs and those who have witnessed them. He and his associates were successful in finding eyewitnesses; they had less success in their search for the animals themselves. Yet their work helped prepare for expeditions in the early 21st century, and those were more successful. Of special note was the 2006 expedition of Paul Nation, in which he videotaped the bioluminescent glow of two indavas.

Josh Gates

At about the time that the Destination Truth team met with me, Jonathan Whitcomb, in their office in Hollywood in 2006, Paul Nation was finishing his expedition on the mainland of Papua New Guinea. I gave the team the latest information I had on Nation’s success there, and within a few months, in 2007, the Destination Truth (DT) TV-show team had a similar success in videotaping a strange flying light in Papua New Guinea.

Josh Gates led the DT group as they searched for a cave in the Salamaua area. They eventually found one, and he led a brief exploration of the cave. After they discovered human bones, they made a quick exit. Later they videotaped a flying light that could not be identified by the forensic experts who examined the footage.

PNG native Jacob Kepas (left) is interviewed by Josh Gates

Josh Gates (right) interviewed Jacob Kepas in 2007 in Papua New Guinea




Ropen — a modern pterosaur

During the past fourteen years of my investigation into reports of apparent extant pterosaurs observed worldwide, I have relied on the descriptions in those eyewitness reports more than on the labels used for the animals people have seen.


Living Pterosaurs in Louisiana

I [Jonathan Whitcomb] have received reports from persons on every continent except Antarctica, and most of those were from the eyewitnesses themselves rather than from second-hand or third-hand accounts.


Recent Reports of Pterosaur Sightings

In the United States, living pterosaurs in:

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina


Genesis Park Pterosaurs

From the research and the searching of David Woetzel


screen shot of the web page "Declaration on Eyewitness Reports of Apparent Living Pterosaurs"

Pterosaur Sighting in Bad Axe, Michigan

By living-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb

The following eyewitness report I received in 2010, from a man in Michigan, and I believe it may have been a large ropen:

Hi, Jonathon.

I just discovered your website and wanted to pass on a sighting to you that happened to me when I was a kid. I was about 12 years old so this would have been 1975. I admit I could be off by +/- a year or two so lets just call it mid-seventies.

I used to spend all my summers at my cousins farm near the small town of Bad Axe in Michigan’s Thumb. Their farm was comprised of a large farmhouse and a huge barn and several other small sheds and chicken coups, etc. Behind their house was a vast wheat field (at least I think it was wheat) and beyond the wheat field was the woods.

I remember one day I was playing in this old trailor in their driveway, running back and forth and making the trailor rock back and forth. I glanced up towards the woods and saw this huge, immense creature flying directly at me. It was coming from the woods and was about halfway across the wheat field when I saw it.

It was the biggest flying creature I have ever seen in my life before or since. It was dull grey in color and had NO feathers. Being a typical boy of that time I knew what it was. It was a pterosaur.

I freaked out and jumped out of the trailor and ran as fast as I could to the farmhouse screaming bloody murder. When I got inside I yelled what was out there and the adults just laughed but my cousin, Martin Brandt, (same age as I was), ran outside with me.

When we got outside the pterosaur had gone into a banking turn and was heading back towards the woods. The creature was so big and so immense that it was actually creating a wake of turbulance in the wheat as it flew over it.

My cousin began to scream as I did and we both ran back to the house. I remember him tripping and I stepped on him as I ran. None of the adults or my other cousins believed what we had seen.

I have since drifted apart from my cousins but I saw him in the late 80’s at a family reunion and I asked him if he remebered that incident and he said he does. He said he tried to tell people about that story and gets the same responses that I have gotten over the years: Everything from casual polite semi-believe to accusations of downright lying.

But I know what I saw. I can still see the image in my mind and replay the whole sequence of events as though it were yesterday. It was a pterosaur. Can you tell me are there any new sightings of pterosaurs being reported in the U.S.? And where are they being reported?

Thanks for listening.


Bad Axe is in the “thumb” of Michigan.


I’ve gotten many living-pterosaur reports from 2004 to 2017, and this was is not nearly as shocking to me as it would be to most Americans. Most of them have been shorter than this one, but a few eyewitnesses have actually communicated with me over a period of years, making extensive information available to the public, regarding their encounters with apparent living pterosaurs. Most reports suggest that a ropen was encountered.


I’ll now give an answer to this man’s question about pterosaurs being reported in the USA:


screen shot of the web page "Declaration on Eyewitness Reports of Apparent Living Pterosaurs"


Declaration on Living Pterosaurs


This downloadable pdf web page contains the following (as of November 2, 2017):

  • 170 references to sightings of living pterosaurs
  • 136 of them being in the United States of America (some of them in Michigan)
  • 31 links to more information on sightings

Encounters outside the USA, referenced on this site, are as follows:

  • Africa
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Cuba
  • England
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Singapore
  • Spain

Not all reports suggest a ropen but those that do not have a long tail appear to be some other kind of modern living pterosaur.




American Civil War Pterosaur Photo


What a controversy this old photograph seems to be stirring up! I’m talking about the photo with six soldiers standing over what appears to be a recently shot Pteranodon . . .


Living Pterosaurs – not extinct


The testimonies of the above nine men shoot down the assumption that all species of pterosaurs are extinct.


Living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea


A few Americans, over a period of many years, have used personal funds to go on expeditions on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, searching for a nocturnal flying animal . . .



A Ropen by any Other Name

By modern-pterosaur researcher Jonathan Whitcomb

One skeptic, writing a very long online article, mentions what I have written about related words in some of the many village languages in Papua New Guinea. He says that “ropen” means bird in one language but fruit bat in another. He then writes, “Well, there you have it,” as if it supports his declaration that a significant number of sightings of apparent pterosaurs in that area of the world could be from misidentified birds or bats. But he misses the point:

“The complexity of hundreds of languages and dialects however, makes research challenging.” [from Ropen on creationwiki]

The critic who referenced that page on Creation-wiki did not take into account the purpose of that paragraph: We cannot reasonably rely on a multitude of languages and expect that any particular word, apparently for a particular flying creature, must relate to a particular species.

During the past fourteen years of my investigation into reports of apparent extant pterosaurs observed worldwide, I have relied on the descriptions in those eyewitness reports more than on the labels used for the animals people have seen. In fact, I generally give very little thought to the label an eyewitness gives to what was seen, especially regarding how I might interpret the possibility that it was a modern pterosaur.

I suspect that the critic himself was overly concentrating on word usage in various languages. I believe that he has an extreme bias against the possibility that one or more species of pterosaurs has survived into the present and that my associates and I have found significant evidence for their existence. This bias has caused the skeptic to make a number of mistakes, including errors of fact in his writings.


Look at a Photograph of a Modern Pterosaur

Even better than words of description may be a photo or a sketch drawn by an eyewitness. Consider the following old photograph that has been verified authentic by two scientists:

recently deceased pterosaur ("pterodactyl") in an old photograph

The photograph now called “Ptp” – That’s a real animal, according to two scientists


Please be aware that Clifford Paiva and I (Jonathan Whitcomb) do not say that the animal photographed was some kind of ropen, but it is obviously a modern pterosaur (or else the most incredible fake model of one ever constructed in history). We say that it was more likely some species of Pterodactyloid rather than a long-tailed ropen.

Regarding the skeptical speculation that those soldiers constructed an elaborate model, a fake pterosaur that had wing folding suggesting what scientists would not discover until many years or even decades later, consider this: How do you account for the estimated number of persons now living who have had some kind of encounter, during their human life times, with a modern pterosaur? That number of persons is between about 7 million and about 128 million.

Old speculations that have appeared like scientific declarations—those have been shot down, especially the popular “Photoshop” conjecture. The following are from the first edition of the nonfiction book Modern Pterosaurs:

Notice the missing fingers in Figure-11. CLK suggests that this is evidence for a hoax, using Photoshop. But how could digital manipulation cause those fingers to disappear? How else except in pasting a rifle-image onto an image of a soldier holding his arm to one side?

Notice the problems that jump out like the clown of a jack-in-the-box. Why would any hoaxer search for some old Civil War photo that might have a soldier holding out his arm as if holding a rifle but without the rifle? Why would any American Civil War soldier stand for a photograph while holding out his arm as if holding onto his rifle but without the rifle? How could any soldier in military history be so foolish as to hold out his arm, as if holding his rifle, when he had forgotten to bring the rifle for the photograph?

That missing-fingers point suggests CLK is unqualified to testify about a potential digital hoax. [Ptp was NOT created through the use of Photoshop.]


The Underwood & Underwood Photograph Discovered

I had seen the Ptp image with a border around late May of this year, but on June 2, 2017, I recognized the words “Underwood & Underwood” printed on the border. I soon recognized how important this discovery was: evidence that Ptp is indeed a very old photograph, for that company went out of business many decades ago, decades before Photoshop existed.

modern pterosaur photo with a border that includes "Underwood & Underwood"

The border on the left side gives the name of the company that published this photograph: Underwood & Underwood. They distributed this photo probably before the 1920’s and may have received it from an independent photographer who could have recorded it before about the year 1870. Evidence within the photo itself suggests it was before about 1870, for an apparent stabilizing prop was used under the beak of the animal.



copyright 2017 Jonathan Whitcomb


Ropen eyewitness

American World War II veteran observed a very large ropen in New Guinea.


Photo of a Modern Pterosaur

Notice that the important subjects of the photo, the strange winged animal and the soldiers—all of them are in reasonably good focus, a characteristic of Civil War photography. Now look more closely at the head. It has a number of similarities to what we might expect of a Pteranodon head. It’s not 100% like what we see in Pteranodon fossils, perhaps, but why should a 19th-century pterosaur be 100% like what we have already discovered in Pteranodon fossils?


Ropen of Umboi Island

“How greatly have eyewitnesses on Umboi Island helped in our investigations of apparent nocturnal Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea!” Jonathan David Whitcomb


Civil War pterodactyl photo

The following are taken from the nonfiction cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs, but before getting into it we need to be clear about the difference between the genuine original photo (now called “Ptp”) and the more-recent hoax photo for a TV show around the year 2000.


Discovery of a modern pterosaur in a photograph

The most vocal skeptic of this photograph has suggested that it was a physical model, constructed to look like a pterosaur. Since the discovery of its publication by Underwood & Underwood, however, that idea now appears to have serious problems, far more serious than the skeptic had imagined.


sketch by eyewitness Patty Carson

Dangerous Ropen in the USA?

I have several reasons for publishing reports of apparent pterosaurs, three of them listed here:

  1. To inform the public on issues related to evolution concepts
  2. To encourage more pterosaur eyewitnesses to come forward
  3. To help in protecting Americans from a potential danger

We now look at potential danger from ropen attacks in the United States. The following is taken from the fourth edition of the nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (SFRFG-4):

Although Marfa Lights in Texas have been occasionally reported to be friendly, a large ropen, in some areas of this planet, would love to take you out, to eat. According to Gerald McIsaac, author of Bird From Hell, people have been attacked in northern British Columbia, sometimes killed, by flying creatures he believes are modern pterosaurs.

“. . . One of the girls in the village was recently attacked by a pterodactyl. She had a campfire burning in her backyard and was attacked in the darkness. The animal made a whistling sound which was so loud her ears were ringing. That explains the origin of the local name Thunder Bird. She called me up, very upset, as people are laughing at her.” [pages 323-324 of SFRFG-4]

That area in British Columbia, Canada, is not too far removed from the northwestern United States, so we should not assume that no attacks will ever occur in the USA.

Missing Persons in the United States – Strange Cases

In the nonfiction book Missing 411 – Western United States & Canada, the author, David Paulides, reports many strange cases of human disappearances. Nothing in the book itself gives any direct evidence for attacks from large flying creatures, but still some of the cases appear to make sense when we apply that possibility.

When a small child goes missing, and he or she is later found (surviving or not), that distance from where the child went missing is greater than when older children or adults go missing. In other words, some of the stranger cases of lost persons are the opposite of what we would expect regarding the distance traveled. Those who would be much more capable of wandering away (lost) to a far distance are actually found to have gone a shorter distance than two-year-olds or other small children. Why are little ones, who can barely walk at all in a wilderness, found further away than those capable of walking much farther? The answer is simple: They did not walk to the found locations but were carried there through the air. Big people cannot be carried away as easily as little people can.

Bigfoot Comes in Second

I know the Bigfoot explanation for abductions by non-humans. But many cases in Mr. Paulides’s book also involve strange locations for shoes and clothing, separated from the person or body that was later found. Being carried away by a large flying creature and falling out of ones shoe or pants or jacket—that makes more sense than Bigfoots that quickly carry people uphill in extremely rugged terrain, dropping off shoes and clothing on the way up a steep mountain. Some Bigfoots may be extremely capable of getting themselves up challenging terrain, but carrying away all sizes of humans up almost inaccessible areas is too much.

A few cases may involve the Bigfoot, among these mysterious disappearances, but a large flying creature makes more sense, in many of the cases, when all things are considered.


sketch by eyewitness Patty Carson

Ropen (long-tailed pterosaur) seen by Patty Carson around 1965 in Cuba (Guantanamo Bay)


Giant Bird Conjecture

Some people speculate that huge birds, unclassified by science, have been responsible for some human abductions, through history. Perhaps that explains some of these missing-persons cases. But a small number of ropens, of a species that does not normally prey on humans, may also be an explanation. Whichever it is, we’d do well to watch for what may fly overhead.



Origin of Reports of Ropen Pterosaurs

Two American soldiers, in New Guinea in 1944, were hiking into the jungle west of Finschhafen, when they were shocked to see a huge creature fly into the air, not more than 100 feet from the soldiers. [a huge “pterodactyl” with a long tail]


“Nightmare” Attack in the Dead of Winter

Remember your worst nightmare? Were you glad to wake up? Be grateful. In the early morning hours of February 23, 2010, a few miles or so southwest of Marfa, Texas, the victims were terrified by what awakened them.


Missing Persons and Pterosaurs

The ropen may grab the person by the coat or pants or shirt or even by the shoes. That is why the body or living person found by rescuers has such clothing missing. It also explains why such clothing is found in other locations and why the pants are sometimes found inside out. The victim falls out of the clothing sometimes but not always.


Sightings in Southern USA

. . . it is a VERY RARE sight, but how can you mistake a pterodactyl? I have [researched this] . . . because I too have seen one, or what I believe to have been one, and there are many people who claim they have seen them. When I was around [ten years old] and on the way to a camp in North Carolina, I saw one soaring high in the sky. It was an amazing sight.


Ropen of the Southwest Pacific

These Americans have gone deep into the tropical rain forests  of Papua New Guinea, in the twenty-first century, to help in the cryptozoology searches for what appear to be living pterosaurs. [Blume, Guessman, Nation, Whitcomb, Woetzel]


Ropen – Modern Pterosaur

A more recent definition, which does not restrict the cryptid to any particular location, is “A modern pterosaur with Rhamphorhynchoid characteristics,” generally meaning a pterosaur with a long tail (from the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, fourth edition).