This sketch was drawn by the eyewitness Patty Carson, who stands by her testimony
Smithsonian-Online Assaults Modern-Pterosaur Concept
Brian Switek wrote “Don’t Get Strung Along by the ‘Ropen’ Myth,” dated August 16, 2010, in its publication as a Smithsonian blog post. He said, “Sadly, some people still get duped by the fantastic claims espoused by ‘professional monster hunters.'”
He correctly points out weaknesses in a newspaper article by Terrence Aym (the flawed “Dinosaur Found Alive: Two Species Recorded in Papua New Guinea”), which was published four days before Switek’s post was published. I suspect Switek could have written a much better post if he had spent more time researching and reading what the ropen explorers have written. The content of his post suggests he assumed the worse for my associates, although he mentions by name only Jim Blume and David Woetzel. Unfortunately he got carried away after lambasting Aym’s article. He would have done better with more than four days, to allow time to learn the truth about many years of investigations into modern reports of apparent pterosaurs.
Reply to the Smithsonian Post in Searching for Ropens and Finding God
He says nothing about me or my associates Garth Guessman and Paul Nation, but does mention David Woetzel and Jim Blume, and he portrays them negatively; I therefore must reply to Mr. Switek. . . . The Smithsonian online post—”Don’t Get Strung Along by the ‘Ropen’ Myth”—covers a community-cesspool of mistakes . . . although it appears it was inadvertent, so we need not condemn the writer. . . .
. . . In his childhood, Switek hoped that explorers who searched for living dinosaurs in the tropics would be successful. As he grew older, he became disenchanted by their lack of apparent discovery. He mentions no names there but states that the supporters of the concept of extant dinosaurs were “hucksters.” He also mentions “young-earth creationists” who oppose “orthodox science.” I suggest Mr. Switek, in his youth, gave up hope too easily. Reality is much deeper.
Frigate Bird Misidentification
I applaud writers for pointing out the problem of people mistaking Frigate birds for what they thought were modern pterosaurs or “dinosaur birds.” Mr. Switek was correct in pointing out that error, that embarrassing error, in Aym’s newspaper article. But the blog post written four days later, by Switek, (“Don’t Get Strung Along by the ‘Ropen’ Myth”) is also full of error, not the same kind of glaring blunder as in the newspaper article but still serious error: countless eyewitnesses have seen apparent living pterosaurs, with many encounters defying any reasonable misidentification conjecture. For one thing, my book Searching for Ropens and Finding God is full of such reports that were from flying creatures very unlike any Frigate bird. For those unwilling to read through the 353 pages of that nonfiction book, I have published over a thousand blog posts on the subject of modern pterosaurs. I suggest this is a much deeper subject than Mr. Switek has imagined.
This is a reply to “Don’t Get Strung Along by the ‘Ropen’ Myth.” The Smithsonian’s blog post supports what I call a “myth” regarding the total extinction of all varieties of pterosaurs. Regardless of how many have become extinct, some still survive.
My life changed from those two weeks on that remote tropical island. I, Jonathan Whitcomb, am no longer a forensic videographer. I am now an author, a writer of nonfiction about living pterosaurs.