Pterosaurs Known From FossilsEdit
Pterosaur fossils are divided into two broad categories: Rhamphorhynchoid and Pterodactyloid. The former are often easily distinguished by a longer tail, but the way that the skull connects to the vertebrae also distinguishes these two types of pterosaur. A few researchers, including John Goertzen,believe that at least one species of Rhamphorhynchoid survived until at least the 17th Century. Standard models of biology (based upon naturalism philosophy rather than scripture) include the assertion that the last species of pterosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago; this is disputed by some creationist cryptozoologists who believe that Rhamphorhynchoids still live in some areas, especially in the southwest Pacific.
Extant Pterosaurs of CryptozoologyEdit
Ropen of Papua New GuineaEdit
According to the nonfiction book Searching for Ropens, "any featherless creature that flies in the Southwest Pacific, and has a tail-length more than 25% of its wingspan" is a ropen. But this nocturnal cryptid (possible animal of cryptozoology but unacknowledged or unclassified as a living animal in biology) is said to eat fish and glow briefly as it flies. Some investigators believe it to be an extant Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.
From 1994 through early 2007, a few American creationist cryptozoologists have explored remote areas of Papua New Guinea, searching for a flying creature called "ropen" on Umboi Island. Seven expeditions included five to Umboi Island and two to the interior of the mainland. The apparent bioluminescent glow of one or more ropens was observed on five of those expeditions. In addition, one non-creationist American-led expedition (for the "Destination Truth" television series), early in 2007, involved an observation of the flying glow that natives attribute to the large flying creature.
Creationist explorers, who searched for ropens in Papua New Guinea, include Carl Baugh (1994 & 1996), Paul Nation (1994, 2002, 2006, & 2007), Nathanael Nation (2002), Jonathan Whitcomb (2004), David Woetzel (2004), and Garth Guessman (2004). Each of these six Americans returned from Papua New Guinea believing the ropen to be a living Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.
Sighting in Australia (1997)Edit
One evening in December, 1997, a man and his wife were taking a walk in a subdivision of Perth, Australia, when they were shocked to see a large flying creature approach their location. The husband recalled that they "had just crested a hill and were on the down slope along a major thoroughfare. In the distance I perceived an object in the sky. . . . it’s progress had brought it closer and while it’s shape did resemble a bird I thought by now that from it’s apparent distance it must be the largest bird I had ever witnessed. . . . Within a minute or so it had reached our position and was about 250 or 300 feet above us and slightly inland . . . it seemed to be a light reddish-tan color. It did not appear to be covered with feathers but had a leathery texture . . . The wings were the most definite leathery feature, they were shaped in a triangular arch . . . estimated the size to be in excess of thirty foot, possibly as great as fifty foot. My eyes told me it was nearer the greater of these, my rational mind wants me to believe the lesser, since either of these is astounding for a flying creature . . .” See Live Pterodactyls - Ropens of the Southwest Pacific.
Sightings in the United StatesEdit
Susan Wooten, of Greenville, South Carolina, was driving from Greenville to Florence (about 1989) when she saw a giant creature glide over the highway in front of the car. . . . She recalled that “It looked as big as any car, and had NO feathers, not like a huge crane or egret. . . . it swooped down over the highway and back up gracefully over the pines.” The highway is through a large swamp. The pterosaur was “gliding” but flapped its wings slowly once or twice. The wingspan was about twelve to twenty feet. See the South Carolina Pterosaur Sighting.