Feb 232010

According to Brian Irwin, who interviewed native eyewitnesses on New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea, “One afternoon late in 2005, three people from Awirin Island . . . were on the beach on the south side of the adjacent unpopulated Dililo Island . . . when they observed an amazing creature moving in the water . . . a long neck and a long tail and had a total length of about 20 metres and a width of about 2 metres. The head was described as being ‘like a dinosaur’ with an ‘oval-like face’ . . . The skin of the animal was . . . khaki green in colour. Dermal frills . . . on the creature’s back.” The description strongly suggests a sauropod dinosaur (like an apatosaurus).

Irwin seemed more interested in another sighting (or he had more information), about an apparent Therizinosaurus “sighted occasionally on Umbungi Island in West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Umbungi Island is located on the south coast of West New Britain between Kandrian and Gasmata.” That apparent dinosaur had “a long tail and a long neck and was 10–15 metres in length.”

See also Pterosaurs in Africa

Eyewitness credibility

 Pterosaurs  Comments Off on Eyewitness credibility
Feb 182010

What is credibility? In regard to eyewitness accounts of cryptids, this gets complicated, for eyewitness-credibility and description-of-cryptid credibility often become intertwined. Let’s get them separated.

Consider how a witness speaks and acts under questioning, if you’re serving on a court jury; the witness might seem believable. Now consider an eyewitness of a cryptid that you feel sure could not exist; do you look for anything that might indicate the person is telling a lie or misidentifying a non-cryptid? It is hard, sometimes, to be objective, when our feelings or basic beliefs appear to be threatened by the testimony of what has appeared to another person. We are all human, regardless of what the cryptid is.

How rare the evaluator who can separate the eyewitness-credibility from the description-of-cryptid credibility! If we feel that a large hairy ape should not be living in North America, we might notice little mannerisms or hesitancies in the testimony of a Big Foot eyewitness. If we feel that all species of pterosaurs should be extinct, we might question the religious motivations of the eyewitness of an apparent Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur (most of those interviewers are creationists). We would do well to avoid rushing to a convenient conclusion, keeping an open mind to discovery, even when it means changing an old, deep-seated assumption.

See Hennessy 1971 Pterosaur Sighting (Brian Hennessy is a professional psychologist who saw one)