May 172016
 
cave entrance in Texas

By Jonathan Whitcomb

A member of the Facebook group Living Pterosaurs of the World recently asked the following question (quoted here only in part):

“Would it seem likely to you that pterosaurs prefer to sleep in unexplored caves whenever they might be available? Perhaps the National Speleological Society might be helpful in locating unexplored caves. . . .”

This deserves attention, but it’s a deeper subject than one might suppose.

Part of the purpose of the National Speleological Society is “working every day to further the exploration, study, and protection of caves and their environments . . .” I doubt that they would be anxious to provide to non-members massive data on locations of unexplored caves. Inexperienced explorers often die or get injured or cause trouble for rescuers, and much of the cause is often from ignorance and an overly adventurous spirit. The wise course is usually to leave cave exploring to experts, unless you want to go through the ropes of learning alongside members of the NSS and become a member yourself.

Nocturnal Pterosaurs

Most modern pterosaurs, if not all of them, are at least mostly nocturnal. This includes long-tailed ropens, which appear to outnumber the short-tailed pterosaurs. This means they must be sleeping in daylight hours, at least for many of those hours. In the uncommon minutes when they are disturbed from sleep, they can sometimes be seen flying in daylight, but those are more the exception than the rule. These flying creatures are nocturnal.

So where do they sleep?

cave entrance in Texas

 

Dragons in Caves

We have many legends and stories of dragons that live in caves.

  • Dragon of Wawel Hill (Poland)
  • The dragon that lived under Varlaam Monastery (Greece)
  • “fire-breathing” dragons of Postojna Cave (Slovenia)
  • “Dragon Cave” in Richmond Township, Pennsylvania
  • The monk St. Beatus, who took over a cave from a dragon (Switzerland)
  • Love story of Jia yuan and Ai (and a dragon cave in China)
  • Dragon cave on Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah

Of course any skeptic may take one legend and ridicule it, dismissing it as 100% fictional because of one or two fantastic declarations in the story. But it takes very little intelligence to be a complete skeptic. Can objective reasoning allow for the possibility that at least some of the legends may contain some truth? Of course.

The above list of seven caves is tiny indeed, but each of those caves has been associated with the word dragon. Considering how greatly they vary is location, we would do well to consider the possibility that not everything in every story has no origin in fact. We need to keep an open mind.

What is Needed for Sleeping?

Let’s get to the root of the problem: Where would you look for a safe sleeping spot in daylight? It would need to be out of sight, hidden from interfering intruders and nosy neighbors. What about a cave?

Would a pterosaur be attracted to a cave that is popular with humans? The last place a large flying creature would want to sleep would be where humans like to explore. Even if it’s not a dragon-slaying Beowulf, a human poking into a cave is bad news for a sleeping ropen.

In reality, just a shallow cave on a cliff will do, especially if its covered by brush or the foliage of a tree. What human would guess that such a hidden place even existed? And even if a human discovered it, from a flyover by a toy helicopter (with video camera), such a hiding place could be too difficult to reach for a creature with no wings.

Conclusion

When people think of a cave, the first picture coming to mind could be a huge maze of caverns like Mammoth Cave in Kentucky or Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. But when a ropen thinks of a cave, what comes to its mind? Perhaps a small outcrop of rock on a cliff or a culvert under a little-used road in a remote area of a desert.

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Fisherman fighting with a pterosaur

R.K. also told me about a fisherman who died after fighting off (and killing) one of the creatures; it seems that local natives believe the kor attacked the fisherman to eat him (larger kor are said to catch and eat young crocodiles and turtles). . . . it followed him to shore where a sea cave runs into a crevice . . . Badly wounded . . .

Japanese World War II ship shelled pterosaur caves

“. . . it was the japs [Japanese military] on the island who were attacked by the kor.  They [Japanese soldiers] apparently shot several wounding them then followed them to cves [caves] and blew [blew up] the entrances. They called ships fire on the hills and pounded them for several hours.”

Live Pterosaurs

“In 1995 I had a very close encounter with something  similar to a Pterosaur in southern Minnesota. . . . I headed  down to ‘my’ fishing spot. . . . It was dusk by the time I  decided to head back home . . . . an outcropping or a cave  (. . . either a shallow cave or a deep outcropping) as I got  near it I heard something … like clicking or tapping . . .”

Can Ropens Hide in Caves?

My associates and I believe that most, if not all, ropens are nocturnal. They are uncommon, if not rare, and are rarely reported in Western countries like the United States, for a living pterosaur contradicts generations of universal-extinction indoctrination. . . . So where might a ropen hide in daylight? On Umboi Island, some natives say that the ropen (or ropens) lives in a cave.

Ghost lights that fly in and out of mud caves in California

. . . they could be related to the ropen lights of Papua New Guinea, the Marfa Lights of Texas, and the glowing objects entering and exiting caves near a river in Oregon.

What about larger flying creatures . . . dragons?

After much searching, the team found a jungle cave, which Josh Gates entered. Human remains he found in that cave, but no ropen, fortunately. So what’s the point here? Natives have traditions that those large nocturnal flying creatures live in caves, and Mr. Gates was following up on a clue from what people have said, a common technique in cryptozoology.

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Jan 012015
 

Of all the names we might consider for these animals, let’s now use Unidentified Flying Creature or UFC. The following will be set aside for the moment, although some or all of them could apply:

  • ropen
  • dragon
  • pterosaur
  • pterodactyl
  • flying dinosaur
  • fiery flying serpent

Mysterious Disappearances of People

Humans can go missing for many reasons, the least common, quite possibly, from being carried away by a “flying dinosaur.” Yet among the strangest of cases of missing people, the circumstantial evidence has mounted up to this bizarre conclusion: The best explanation for some of these is that people are carried away into the air.

This about the following. Dogs often fail to track or follow the scent for a short distance and stop. I know that some people will suggest a Bigfoot carries away people; but how do you explain a dog that tracks a man to a vertical cliff in Yosemite? That man had neither the physical ability nor the climbing equipment to ascend vertically. The direct interpretation is simple: Something lifted that man up into the air near that cliff. (This does not mean that the UFC flew straight up, that would be unnecessary and exhausting; that was simply the spot where the man’s body was lifted up into the air as the UFC flew alongside the cliff.)

The nonfiction paperback Missing 411 Western United States & Canada, by David Paulides, mentions many cases where tracking dogs could not track. That does not necessarily mean those dogs were afraid of the scent of a Bigfoot, a scientifically non-classified primate reported to live in North America. Those dogs could just as well have an aversion for following the smell of a giant pterodactyl. Yet the best explanation we have, for the moment, is that some of those persons are lifted up from the ground.

Concerning the disappearance of eight-year-old Dennis Johnson, in Yellowstone National Park in 1966, a newspaper quoted one of the searchers: “It was nearly as if he had been snatched from the face of the earth.” Others have made similar statements about strange disappearances.

Clothing or Shoe Found Missing From a Found Person

It’s not very unusual for one shoe or one or more articles of clothing to be missing from a live person or body. This can be explained by the victim falling out of a shoe or shirt or pants or coat, while being carried a short distance above the ground. The shoe or clothing or shoe is then dropped in one location while the unidentified flying creature turns around and flies back to look for its prey. That is why some of the survivors are found in bushes, where the vegetation both cushioned the fall and hid the person from the returning predator.

Kuhn's sketch of Cuban pterosaurs

Two very large flying creatures seen in Cuba in 1971

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Missing Children and the Ropen

Many other cases give significant circumstantial evidence that large flying creatures have, on occasion, carried away a child. Many such cases have no resolution, meaning no child or body was ever recovered.

Missing Persons and Cave Appearances

This two-year-old [Mike McDonald] was found fifteen miles from where he became missing, in 1945 in southern Arizona, asleep in a small cave. Like the case in Australia, he was found the day after he disappeared. Mike had no injury other than a small cut on one foot.

Vapor or Mist Used in Attacks on Humans?

I would say the substance ejaculated from the mouth or head of the pterosaur is a mist, described by one eyewitness as a “smoke.” This very well could be part of the origin of old legends of fire-breathing dragons.

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Fourth edition of this nonfiction cryptozoology book

The ultimate nonfiction book on modern pterosaurs

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non-fiction paperback "Searching for Ropens and Finding God"Searching for Ropens and Finding God, fourth edition, by Jonathan Whitcomb

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Why the Ropen is Real

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Nov 292014
 
Fourth edition of this nonfiction cryptozoology book

The apparent Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur called ropen is a cryptid, and that means we are dealing with cryptozoology. Scientific methods may be used in researching and searching in cryptozoology, yet a cryptid, by definition, is not an animal being studied in a laboratory, by a science professor; it is a creature known more from eyewitness testimony.

One paleontologist, Dr. Donald Prothero, has gone far astray from scientific methods in his post about “fake” pterosaurs. It’s devoted to attacks against me, Jonathan Whitcomb, as he mentions my religious beliefs and proclaims my dishonesty, in spite of my explanations for my use of two pen names in a minority of my writings.

The question now is this: Is it better for a scientist to use non-scientific methods to ridicule, through bulverism, someone he disagrees with or for a cryptozoologist to use scientific methods to examine the credibility of the existence of the cryptid called ropen? I choose the latter.

I now respond to Dr. Prothero by quoting from my Searching for Ropens and Finding God (4th edition).

The paleontologists are rare who take notice of my associates and me, at least through mid-2014. When one has commented on what we declare about modern pterosaurs, it’s usually with a word like “extinction” but in a difference sense: the demise of all species of pterosaurs. Am I slicing quarks? I know of nobody who denies that many pterosaurs may have lived without leaving any fossil. Beware of the fog around two meanings of a word. Even if all species of pterosaurs known from fossils had become extinct long ago, we live in the real world of the present, a world in which people report encountering living pterosaurs. [page 293]

Mr. Collini and Mr. Cuvier [two centuries ago] assumed the strange creature that left fossil evidence of its existence was extinct. What else could they think? They knew nothing of anything like that in the modern world. Now look at the key word: assumed.

Almost all biologists, from then until now, have assumed all species of pterosaurs became extinct, for those humans apparently knew nothing of anything like them in the modern world. Paleontologists are even more rare than eyewitnesses of ropens, and if one fossil expert saw one dragon fly overhead, how could the encounter be reported? That eyewitness would probably say nothing.

Gradual accumulations of new fossil species were too gradual to alert anyone. Alert them to what? Simple probability. If we were to dig into a cliff, looking for fossils, what might we find? Quite likely we would uncover a fossil of something quite similar to a modern organism, for those are common. If paleontologists had examined objectively the axiom of pterosaur extinction, over the past 200 years, they would have noticed what few have considered: As each new pterosaur genus was uncovered, by fossil discoveries, the probability of a modern version increased. Experts now have dozens of those genera to consider, yet how few paleontologists have examined the universal-pterosaur-extinction axiom itself! [page 295]

Science and mathematics

Statistical analysis proves that hoaxes could not have played a major part in the 128 sighting reports that I researched by the end of 2012. This is in simple math, easy for most adults to understand. I don’t know why Dr. Prothero mentioned nothing about statistics in eyewitness testimonies, but if he had, it would have reflected badly on his case for trying to persuade people to dismiss from their minds the possibility of any modern pterosaur. How much easier to use bulverism to convince followers that I, Jonathan Whitcomb, have been dishonest! Please note, I am not accusing Dr. Prothero of dishonesty; I am replying to his accusations of deceit.

Of course my use of math in that situation relates to the lack of hoaxes, not misidentification possibilities. But if many eyewitnesses have been telling the truth, what about the possibility that I too have been honest? And what if the ropen really is real?

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“Sock Puppets” and Jonathan Whitcomb

Both statements in each post are false, yet some of my proper use of two pseudonyms may resemble improper usage, so this needs to be explained in detail. . . . To publicize details about the encounters with apparent pterosaurs, I needed some way to emphasize those reports without my name getting in the way. [a perfectly valid reason to use a pen name]

Donald Prothero and “Fake” Pterosaurs

. . . It gives me some hope that Prothero was making an honest mistake, when he included that link; nevertheless, his post appears sure to lead his readers astray from the truth, not only about my motivations but about investigations of living-pterosaur sighting reports in general. I must respond.

Evidence for a Living Pterosaur

I continue to receive eyewitness reports of apparent living pterosaurs, as I have for the past eleven years. The following are some of the more recent emails: West Virginia (Oct of 2014) . . . Minnesota (Nov of 2014) [note: this post was written on Nov 29, 2014]

Cryptomundo and Jonathan Whitcomb

Did you know that the living-pterosaurs investigations that started in the mid-1990’s were in Papua New Guinea? Some reports were of large flying creatures that were covered with hair. The Woetzel-Guessman expedition of 2004 (a few weeks after my own expedition) involved detailed questionnaires, the main one being two pages long. There was also a silhouette page: 34 images of birds, bats, and pterosaurs.

Ropens and Pterosaurs

Recent and older editions of the nonfiction books Searching for Ropens and Live Pterosaurs in America

Honesty in Ropen Searching

I am shocked that somebody with so much education would make so many mistakes, indeed errors that are facing 180 degrees away from reality. But I do not accuse this man of dishonesty, for I cannot see into his mind or into his heart. Being honest or dishonest is, after all, about one’s intention. Those who search diligently will find the truth.

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non-fiction paperback "Searching for Ropens and Finding God"

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – in its expanded fourth edition

Living-pterosaur nonfiction book

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Recent Pterosaur Sightings

 North America, Pterosaurs  Comments Off on Recent Pterosaur Sightings
Oct 312014
 
Fourth edition of this nonfiction cryptozoology book

West Virginia

Ricky Kearns, of Point Pleasant, WV, and other members of his family witnessed a strange flying creature on the night of October 20, 2014, as they sat outside, gazing up at the sky.

The teenaged boy reported:

I’m mind blown right now and this is why I’m writing to you. This happened to me about an hour ago. My dad, my baby sister, and I were outside in the hot tub. We were just talking … [My little sister] spots this giant winged creature flying across the sky . . . I’m [now] terribly upset that I didn’t immediately get out and grab my phone to video or take a picture. I was in all honest awe and didn’t even think that I would resort to a dead end on diagnosing this sight. It was WAY UP in the sky, and it’s wings were flapping slowly, so explaining that it was a large creature high up rather than a small creature flying low. But it was glowing.

This part of West Virginia is near the border with Ohio, near where the Kanawha River meets the Ohio River. Ricky estimated that it had “at least a 25-30 ft wingspan.”

Oklahoma (mid-Sep-2014)

The eyewitness in Oklahoma City reported:

I have always thought Bigfoot was really cool but never paid any attention to really anything about pterosaurs existing today . . . This morning at around 8:30 it went from bright morning to a black sky in just a few minutes. . . . it was such a freaky change in weather . . . On my way back from the store, I was watching the sky and saw a few birds and this really big bird with leathery wings and a long tail with a lion tuft type of thing. This is what the shape suggested. I didn’t see any feathers. I didn’t see a crest on it’s head but I was looking up almost directly under it so I don’t know if I could tell that from that angle. It wasn’t flapping. Mostly gliding but slight movement from the wings they definitely seemed bat like.

New Mexico

Early in September of 2014, two men were gazing through their telescopes one night. One of them reported:

This sighting was between 2-2:30 in the morning as my buddy and I are avid astronomers i.e.: Star gazers, or as I have come to calling it “Star geekers” . . .

He answered questions that I (Jonathan Whitcomb) put to him:

Q: Could you estimate the length of the sighting in seconds?

A: Not counting what I saw fly through my field of vision (about 3-5 seconds) while I was attempting to center the Andromeda galaxy in my telescope (which I am now fully convinced was the creature btw) I would have to say between 6-8 seconds.

Q: Did you notice a tail?

A: I thought I noticed “something” trailing not far behind this ‘thing’ although my friend says he did not notice anything. Was there something that attached the trailing ‘thing’ to the main body? No. In my estimation there was about 10′ between the main body and the little something that trailed it. So to say that I noticed a tail…no sir I can not, in so far as I did not see anything that connected the little glowing “bit” that trailed and followed the main body. This is the best that I can answer this question.

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fourth edition of Whitcomb's nonfiction paperback book

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – by Jonathan Whitcomb

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From page 180 of the fourth edition of this nonfiction book:

Sighting reports often suggest only a lone eyewitness, meaning the one reporting the creature was alone and took no notice of anybody else who saw it. Yet I was surprised earlier in 2013, when I analyzed the more credible accounts, for apparently 43% of sightings involve two eyewitnesses. I also learned 47% thought they were alone, although some unobserved persons may also have been witnesses.

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Flying Creature

Do you call  the police? The newspaper? Animal  control? A nearby university? A brief  reflection makes it obvious: None of those  will do. Other American eyewitnesses have been  called “crazy” for reporting what they have seen.

I hope you’ll contact me,  Jonathan Whitcomb. As far as I know, I am  the only person on earth who has devoted  anything like a full-time effort, over years,  to interview eyewitnesses of apparent living  pterosaurs or ropens, promoting the idea that  these flying creatures are not extinct but  very much alive.

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“Ropen” Made Extinct on Wikipedia

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Aug 282014
 
Closeup of the Ropen page on Wikipedia, before it was deleted, including "without giving appropriate weight to the mainstream view"

I have no direct evidence that the biology professor Myers (at the University of Minnesota, Morris) had any direct part in the deletion of the Wikipedia article “Ropen” within the past few days; his blog post may have contributed to the extinction of that page on Wikipedia, however (“There are no living pterosaurs and ‘ropen’ is a stupid fantasy”). It seems likely that one or more of his students or one or more of the readers of his post were involved. Regardless, you will no longer see Wikipedia’s “Ropen” page at the top of a Google search for that cryptid, for that page is now extinct.

Mid-August entry, top-of-page, of Wikipedia (English) article "Ropen" - it was deleted by August 28, 2014

Screen Shot of the top of the Wikipedia page “Ropen” (from about August 20, 2014)

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The Ironic Reasoning Behind the “Ropen” Deletion

Supposedly, it was “lack of appropriate weight to the mainstream view” that killed off the page. Bigfoot, watch out, for you may be next. What’s ironic about the loss of one page from Wikipedia? I tried, earlier this month, to add a mainstream viewpoint to that page, to prevent the whole article from being deleted. That’s when, within a few minutes, my contribution itself was deleted. Why? Because, said that self-appointed editor, I had selectively quoted a paleontologist in such a way as to leave an impression that was misleading. What nonsense! Any person who would have taken the trouble to compare my quoting with the original source—that person could have seen that the meaning was exactly the same.

The big irony is that I was trying to contribute material that was contrary to my own personal beliefs, to save the “ropen” article from deletion. Perhaps the self-appointed editor who deleted my attempt assumed that I must have quoted wrongfully (because of my beliefs); yet how could that editor have done all of the following, within about five minutes, and still have had time to consider it carefully?

  1. He found my contribution on that Wikipedia page
  2. He noticed the ellipses (. . .) [which were from things like English mistakes and needless repetition]
  3. He deleted my paragraph [which could have saved the whole “ropen” article]
  4. He wrote his brief explanation for his deleting it

It took me hours to create that paragraph, including the research and the necessary formatting of the references and careful consideration of the quoting of the paleontologist. Yet that editor deleted the whole thing within about five minutes. To be brief, I soon gave up on trying to contribute anything, ever again, on Wikipedia.

Twisting the Point of the Mainstream View

If the biology professor in Minnesota was so concerned about the mainstream view being portrayed, why did he not add a paragraph about the improbability of living pterosaurs, on that Wikipedia article? He did at least imply, in his post, that he had little confidence in Wikipedia in general, but then why did he keep mentioning that Wikipedia page? Was it only a coincidence that “Ropen” was marked for deletion at about the same time as the publication of that professor’s blog post? I don’t know. But if the mainstream view is so decidedly against the possibility of any living species of pterosaur, why did not one biologist or paleontologist contribute just one small paragraph to explain that? Their lack of involvement caused the extinction . . . not the demise of all species of Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs but the article about the ropen.

What next for cryptozoology? Will Bigfoot be blasted off the face of Wikipedia? From the length of the objections to the existence of the big fellow, on the Wikipedia “Bigfoot” article, it seems unlikely, for both sides are well represented. Still, it brings up a point on which Professor Myers and I seem to agree: Wikipedia is not always dependable.

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Lie on Wikipedia “Ropen” Article?

There lies a weakness in Wikipedia, although a solution seems hard to come by. When proponents of the “mainstream view” on a subject seem reluctant to state their orthodox opinions, in sufficient content-size, a fringe theory can appear to be unbalanced in an article, favoring too much an unpopular point of view.

Pterosaur Sightings in Europe

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Jul 212014
 
It flew over a building, apparently near the street of "Noorder IJ - en Zeeweg" near Amsterdam, Holland (Netherlands)

In the nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, we read of several sightings of apparent pterosaurs in Europe:

Netherlands (near Amsterdam)

He answered that the creature was 30-40 meters away, and it was 1.5 meters long with a wingspan of two meters. He said, “It was coming out of the city and flying to a big canal,” passing by him from left to right. . . .

Lake District of England

One night in about October of 1996, the man was camping with friends, in a field, . . . between Little Langdale and Coniston. Soon after sunset, . . . the man looked at the moon-lit clouds and noticed a dark shape moving under the cloud cover. . . . at first assuming it was a balloon, he became aware that it was moving against the wind and was “undulating slightly.” . . . As he watched it pass overhead, the shape was obviously not like a balloon, more like a “manta-ray fish but with a short tail.” The undulating motion was then seen to be the flapping of the wings of the huge creature. The wingspan he estimated at thirty-five feet.

Spain, mid-2007

The sighting was in mid-2007: “I hope you are the Jonathan Whitcomb who has been investigating pterodactyl like animals . . . I assure you I am NOT LYING—I’ve got literally no interest in making something like this up. Apart from the two people with me at the time, I haven’t mentioned this to anyone . . .” “. . . last summer, some friends and I drove from England (where I live) to [Benicassim, near Desert de les Palmes]) for a music festival. One night, whilst sitting on the ground by the tents . . . I saw what I at first assumed was an owl gliding over the campsite . . . it passed right over us, probably about 30-40 ft high, and as I watched it, I realised it was definitely no owl I’d ever seen before.” “. . . the colour of suede/sand, looked like the same sort of texture as suede (i.e no feathers), had a long thin tail, and didn’t flap once. I only saw it for a few seconds (as the campsite was lit up, illuminating it from beneath), but it fairly quickly passed into the dark, out of the reach of the light. . . .” I judge that report of the flying creature in Spain highly credible, although not as lofty a credibility as some daylight sighting reports that I have received. This report was probably of a ropen, yet daylight encounters can prove the case.

. It flew over a building, apparently near the street of "Noorder IJ - en Zeeweg" near Amsterdam, Holland (Netherlands) . Spain 1, Netherlands 1

These two countries tied 1-1 in something completely different: modern sightings of apparent pterosaurs. . . . northwest of Amsterdam, Netherlands (Holland) . . . [and] in Spain, perhaps near “los desert del palmas.”

. Sightings of Live Pterosaurs in Europe

Europe has its share [of pterosaur sightings], although I suspect that several things cause fewer eyewitnesses to share their experiences with me. . . . In the Netherlands, about five kilometers northwest of Amsterdam, a number of years ago, on a hot summer afternoon, a featherless creature flew “coming out of the city and flying to a big canal.”

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Two Nonfiction Paperback Books on Modern Pterosaurs:

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small image of cover of nonfiction book "Live Pterosaurs in America" third edition

Live Pterosaurs in America

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pile of nonfiction books: "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" - by Jonathan Whitcomb

Searching for Ropens and Finding God

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