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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Ropens, Pterosaurian Sightings And Manta Rays

Pterosaur repoted by Kuhn in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba: Ropen seen in New Guinea.

Various witnesses in warmer regions of the world claim to have seen living pterodactyls as long-tailed creatures with two-pronged heads and long thin tails. No legs or feet are ever reported but wingspans are commonly reported as 20-30 feet across and the long thin tail is commonly estimated to be ten feet long. The surface has no feathers and is leathery and although different lighting conditions make the colour difficult to make out, it is most often darker or black on the back and lighter or white on the belly. A sighting made by a married couple in Perth, Australia, is typical:

' . . . in Perth, Western Australia on the coastline around 10:30 pm. We
were walking along Marmion Avenue between the suburbs of Heathridge and Ocean Reef. This creature could not be written off as a bird as it was bigger than any bird on the planet, it did not flap it's wings (just glided on the air current), it had a ruddy reddish brown leathery skin; (we could see it's underneath as it flew over us at about 100ft up; the glow from all the ground lighting made that possible), it had a long tail and a wingspan that we estimated at between 30-50 feet across.'

[Measurements and altitude more than double the norm and probably both exaggerated]

'My husband and I both have talked about what we saw many times since that night in 1997. . . It had a lizard appearance, and was a ruddy reddish brown colour, bearing in mind that all we could see was its dark shape until the ground lighting hit it, it was only for maybe between 5 to 10 seconds . . . but enough time for us to see it was a living creature. I should imagine a creature that size would have had legs and feet, but we didn't see them. It was gliding across the night sky, flying quite low, without a sound.'

It is a quite consistent feature that the sightings take place along the shoreline or on islands, or actually out at sea and seen from boats or airplanes, and ordinarily for only a few seconds. A comparison of two sightings one in 1944 and the other in 1971, as published on, produces the results that both have no indication of feathers; pointed head crest at back of head; overall, dark colour; tail at least ten to fifteen feet long, and a longish narrow tail; loud swishing sound of wing-flaps; one or two seconds per wing-flap; 'prehistoric' appearance; 1944 - on mainland of Papua New Guinea, 1971- Bougainville Is., Papua New Guinea: the 1944 witness Hodgkinson is a professional flight trainer and the 1971 witness Hennessy is a professional psychologist. Neither one would want to damage credibility by sending in a hoax or false report.

There is a problem in all of these sightings (which occur world-wide and in fact are becoming more and more frequent with the passage of years) in that the body conformation is NOT what you would expect of a giant Pterosaur. The giant Pterosaurs were of a type that did not have much in the way of a tail: the tailed pterosaurians were the smaller kinds. Also the assumed wing membrane filling in all the way to the feet and being of a broad rhomboid overall appearance do not agree with the shape of the wings as they seem to be in these pterosaurs (nor yet with the shape of the wing membranes as preserved on fossils). On the other hand, they are exactly as represented in 1960s dinosaur movies and animated cartoons (eg, The Mighty Mightor shows Pterosaurs of that type, actually an imaginary design).

As a matter of fact I had heard of such reports and mentioned the creatures in my first letter to Ivan T. Sanderson in the 1970s. And I soon afterward came up with the solution myself: 'I supppose they could be manta rays leaping out of the water and assumed to be Pterosaurs on brief viewings. The witnesses on shore could get confused if they saw the creatures over land or see when they were remembering about it afterwards'. And in fact the size and shape of the wings and tail in all of these reports exactly correspond to a manta ray when they do NOT corresond to any type of Pterosaurian.

There is more to it than just that: witnesses in New Guinea are also apparently describing a type of very large hornbill (which is also recognised under a different name as a separate cryptid) and the reports of 'Bioluminescence' are basically either 'spook lights' or marsh gas. 'Spook lights' otherwise occur world-wide without any connection to supposed pterosaurian sightings and I would write such sightings off as red herrings in these cases.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Ropen is a flying cryptid[1] alleged to live in the vicinity of Papua New Guinea.[2] According to the book Searching for Ropens, it is "any featherless creature that flies in the Southwest Pacific, and has a tail-length more than 25% of its wingspan." On Umboi Island the word "ropen" refers to a large nocturnal creature that glows briefly as it flies.[3] The ropen is the subject of folklore (like a man but also like a spirit) but it's believed by some natives to be a real animal.[4] Descriptions vary, but it is often said to be batlike,[5] and sometimes, Pterosaur-like;[6] although pterosaurs are generally accepted to have been extinct for 65 million years.[7][8] The ropen is believed to be nocturnal and to exhibit bioluminescence.[9][10] Purportedly it lives on a diet of fish,[11] though there have been some reports of the creature feasting on human flesh, especially grave robbery.[12][13][14]

[The descriptions obviously include inferrances that the Ropen is a Demonic or Undead-human rather than a normal living animal-DD]

As an attempt to discredit mainstream scientific views on the age of the Earth, several expeditions[15] have been embarked upon by American creationists, including Carl Baugh, Paul Nation, Jonathan Whitcomb,[16] David Woetzel, and Garth Guessman.

In late 2006, Paul Nation, of Texas, explored a remote mountainous area on the mainland of Papua New Guinea.[17] He videotaped two lights that the local natives called "indava." Nation believed the lights were from the bioluminescence of creatures similar to the ropen of Umboi Island. The video was analyzed by a missile defense physicist who reported that the two lights on the video were not from any fires, meteors, airplanes or camera artifacts. He also reported that the image of the two lights was authentic and was not manipulated or hoaxed.[18]

In 2007, cryptid investigator Joshua Gates went to Papua New Guinea in search of the Ropen for his TV show Destination Truth. He and his team also witnessed strange lights at night and could not confirm what they were.

In 2009, the television show Monster Quest conducted an expedition in search of the "demon flyer" but found no evidence of the creature. Later, they had a forensic video analyst examine the Paul Nation video. The analyst could not definitely conclude what was causing the lights, but ruled out vehicles and campfires believing the footage was of a pair of bioluminescent creatures perched in a tree that later take flight.

As is often the case with cryptids, the Ropen's true identity is subject to debate. Some believe it to be a Rhamphorhynchidae-like creature, while others suggest that the Ropen is a misidentified bat (e.g. flying foxes, which are large fruit bats than can have wingspans up to two metres (six feet), or frigatebird. Flying lights in Papua New Guinea have been reported by not only natives but by Western visitors. Evelyn Cheesman, the entomologist, mentions them in her book The Two Roads of Papua (published in 1935): "baffling" lights that lasted "about four or five seconds." The book Searching for Ropens says that the "ropen" light of Umboi Island lasts for about "five seconds." There is also said to be a creature called "Duah" that is said to be another kind of ropen, but according to Searching for Ropens the correct word is actually "duwas," and it is just another name, in a different language, for the same creature.[It can also mean "Devil" apparently-DD]

2.^ Pterosaur-like Creatures Reported in Papua New Guinea
3.^ Expedition - A Pterodactyl in Papua New Guinea
4.^ PSL Gideon was terrified by the ropen
5.^ Living pterosaurs are not Flying Fox fruit bats
6.^ PSL Is the ropen a pterosaur?
7.^ Penny et al. (2004) The rise of birds and mammals: are microevolutionary processes sufficient for macroevolution?. Trends in ecology & evolution vol. 19 (10) pp. 516-22
8.^ Robertson et al. (2004) Survival in the first hours of the Cenozoic. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America
10.^ Bioluminescent Organisms
11.^ Whitcomb's Book, Searching For Ropens, Asserts Pterodactyl Reported In Papua New Guinea - EWORLDWIRE
12.^ Michael of Opai Village and the ropen light
13.^ What Happened to Pterosaurs page 2
14.^ Jim Blume's ropen investigations in Papua New Guinea
15.^ Flying Dinosaurs in Papua New Guinea
16.^ PSL Ropen Light Sighting by David Woetzel
17.^ Living Pterosaur Expedition of 2006
18.^ Analysis of the Ropen-light Video, pg-1
External links
Credibility of the Umboi Island eyewitnesses
Indava and Ropen of Papua New Guinea
Live Pterosaurs and Evolution


  1. Yep, the ropens are actually MANTA RAYS! You nailed it. That's EXACTLY what the Pacific sightings are, especially in New Guinea. Those mantas are always hoaxing ropen sightings, anyway: flapping their "wings"; making their stingers looks like tails; teaching themselves to fly; and then to make the ropen head they....well, uh, they, uhm, well they did SOMETHING to make a neck, head and beak, you better believe it bud!

    The mantas' biggest trick was always blasting out of the water and then, instead of gliding a few feet before crashing back into the ocean like normal mantas, they gathered altitude and speed, changed their entire physical configuration, and then flew inland dozens of miles.

    In addition, in the 1944 sighting they walked around a jungle clearing until they were sure the soldiers had seen them, and then they exploded into flight above the trees, those slippery rascals! They were also very slick in 1971, when they made sure they were seen inland many miles, and then flew above the jungle canopy.

    Those tricksy manta rays, always trying to make us think they are the precious ropen! Thanks for being swift enough to catch on to the devious Manta Ray Conspiracy!

  2. Well of course you missed that line about there are some of the reports that refer to a type of giant hornbill which is also a cryptid otherwise known under another name. It has the "Horn" on its head and people confuse them. Ropens are not all created equal, the original legends include Vampire and demon stories. The Bioluminescence is not actually attached to any of the identifiable reports, it is a side issue.

    Furthermore one of the reasons for choosuing manta rays as a suspect is because they have two-pronged heads which could look like a Pteranodon's at certain angles to witnesses who only got a brief glance. And your description shows that you are not well up on manta ray anatomy, nor are you even apparently looking at the photos for comparison because the comparison of the general shapes is QUITE close.

    And the original theory was that witnesses on the coast were remembering events that happened DECADES before and got their directions confused upon remembering. You will notice that the accounts also become more elaborate over time, with more details given for changes in flight path, landing on the ground and taking off again and such: to be brutally frank, I think the witnesses are adding things on to reports that they had not actually witnessed as more time goes by.

    Something like that MUST have happened because they are NOT reporting the actual shapes of Pterosaurs at all but are instead they ARE reporting EXACTLY the same size and shape of Manta rays. ESPECIALLY the long thin tails and wings AND at the EXACT Measurements.

  3. Incidentally, you have a situation here that is exactly comparable to certain UFO reports where witnesses report a light in the sky in a certain specific position, and then go on to give in detail how the light in the sky moved in closer, landed, and little men came out, abducted the witnesses, gave them elaborate interviews and medical examinations, and then released them in a dazed condition. When experts check out the position of the initial light in the sky, lo and behold, it was the planet Jupiter, which never really landed at all. The rest of the story was entirely imaginary.

    Like it or not that is exactly what turned out to be the situation in the Betty and Barney Hill "abduction" case. ALL the details about the spaceship and its occupants were added on later in recollections of what was supposed to have happened (and the "Star chart" Betty was supposedly shown turned out to be the same pattern as a constellation then visable in the sky, according to none other than Betty Hill herself)

    You have to look at these things as if they are UFO reports, and then if the UFO is in the exact position of the planet Jupiter, then the UFO was the planet Jupiter, and the rest of the details must be padding. If the creature seen on the seacoast is the exact overall size and shape of a manta ray, then it is a manta ray and the other details are padding. Especially if it is being remembered years or even decades later on.

  4. Hello Dale,
    Thank you for the thought-out article. It certainly interested me. I've have been on four pterosaur research investigations in the US. I can't speak for those in the Pacific Islands, but what I saw here did look like a pterosaur. I observed it through fairly high powered binoculars for long enough to know that it possessed a distinct crest on the back of its head. My observation was independently confirmed by a second witness. I recently consulted a wildlife biologist regarding this species and was told that it could only have been a Great Blue Heron (which is something I spent a great deal of time considering). However, the crest could not be explained. What is your explanation?

  5. A great blue heron HAS a crest-of feathers. Moreover as far as I can tell they are frequently reported as "Pterodactyls" in the US, and the long legs trailing behind described as a long tail.

    There is one dead giveaway, however: these birds fly with the neck curved into a distinctive 'S' shape in front. Most birds do NOT fly with their neck curved that way, and if somebody DOES report a "Pterodactyl" with a neck curved like that (Crestless or not, there is a report in PURSUIT and it says a crest, too), it is most likely the heron.

    If the bird you saw did NOT fly with its neck in that posture, it would not be a great blue heron. I have seen birds of that species on ground and in flight and they are big, impressive birds. One flew overhead over my yard during warmer weather last year, and it cast a very large shadow on the ground.

    If you like I can post another blog entry, with appropriate GBH photos.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  6. Dale,

    Thanks for the information, but I've already considered all of that. I have spent a fair amount of time watching those birds and I recently took several photographs of a mounted specimen. The crest was not like a heron's in size or shape. If you would like to use my pictures in your next blog entry, let me know and I can email them to you.

    God Bless,


  7. Certainly, I would be most interested in your drawings and even more so if you have good evidence for surviving Pterosaurs.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.


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