Do Ropens, Extant Pterosaurs, Eat Bats?
Recently, investigators have noticed a relationship between bats and ropens
By Jonathan Whitcomb, author of "Searching for Ropens," Living Pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea
For years, my associates and I have been
trying tell the public about living pterosaurs. The old Flying-Fox-fruit-bat explanation had been soundly disproven, for
many eyewitness reports and native accounts reveal a long-tailed fish-eating creature with a head crest like that of some pterosaurs,
and a bioluminescence brighter than any classified bioluminescent organism; also,
it clings to tree trunks in an upright posture.
The fruit bat of the southwest Pacific islands--the Flying Fox, the largest bat in the world--has almost no tail and no pterosaur
head crest (and no bioluminescence); also, it hangs from tree branches upside down. Nevertheless, it now appears that there is a bat
connection, but a connection differing from anything that I, or Garth Guessman, or David Woetzel, had considered when we explored
Umboi, a remote tropical island in Papua New Guinea, in 2004, searching for living pterosaurs.
In the summer of 2007, I learned that
Guessman and Woetzel had found a new area to search for the cryptid we call "ropen" (I assumed it was still in Papua New Guinea).
When I learned that they had seen many bats and apparent ropens flying, at night, over the same valley, at the same time, and that
the sightings were throughout the year, it became obvious: The ropens must be catching bats. How could ropens be spending so much
time flashing their ropen bioluminescent flashes throughout the year if they were not catching food? And what food could they be catching
in the sky at night that would satisfy the hunger of a large pterosaur? Not insects.
Early in 2008, I was shocked by the death of
the cryptozoologist Scott Norman. On learning of his living-pterosaur sighting (he saw one just months before his natural death),
I was again shocked: While assisting the "expedition" team that included Guessman and Woetzel, Norman saw a large (not giant) pterosaur-like
creature not in Papua New Guinea but in the United States of America. Extraordinary! The bats that were flying where investigators
regularly saw ropen-like-flashes were obviously not fruit bats of Papua New Guinea; they are one or more species of bats "common"
(not necessarily numerous) in the Western United States.
Sherlock Holmes unravels many mysteries quickly: solving them in a few seconds
or a few days;
I solve a few mysteries, unquickly: in days, or months, or years. Between the early spring and late summer of 2008,
it gradually dawned on me: Some of the eyewitnesses who report apparent pterosaurs in the United States have said that they observed
flying bats at about the time they saw apparent pterosaurs; one or two whom I have interviewed mentioned bats. And those who have
said nothing about bats--those eyewitnesses live in areas where bats may be common. American ropens, apparently, do not necessarily
need to catch fish; they can catch bats. And catching bats at night brings up another point: Why else would American ropens be nocturnal?
The ropen is still (as of mid-2008) living within the realm of cryptozoology, although I am sure it is living. But when the day comes
that photographs and video footage of a ropen peals away the label "cryptid," I believe that the American ropen will be seen to be
a bat-eater, not a bat.
Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010 Jonathan Whitcomb -------- By email, contact Whitcomb
A key eyewitness in Southern California has come forward with a report
of a giant flying creature in a wildlife refuge. The sighting, in the summer of 2007, was of a long-tailed featherless creature like
the ropen of Papua New Guinea. It was reported to Whitcomb one year later, too late, probably, to search for the cryptid in that area.
In the northwestern United States, several cryptozoologists have recently seen one or more apparent living pterosaurs. The secret
location was visited by a biology professor who returned with two other cryptozoologists for verification. The location is secret.
Several ropen seekers have been periodically visiting a third area on the West coast of the U.S., where apparent ropens fly at night.
Most sightings are of small bats but the larger creatures obviously differ. Scott Norman had what may have been the most dramatic
sighting of what looked like a pteranodon.