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Ropen - a Living Pterasaur? (Thunderbird?)

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posted on Dec, 16 2004 @ 06:27 AM
Was browsing the fortean times forum when I came across something interesting:

good stuff going on in this forum:

The poster called "jdw" on is Jonathan Whitcomb whose website is at .

The link to his Ropen expedition is at

Previous talk of the Ropen described a smaller creature with maybe a 1.5-2m wingspan... there are also other pterosaur-like cryptids out there such as the African Kongamato with similar wingspans.

What do others here think? I note that Whitcomb appears to be a Christian Creationist, but at the same time it doesn't look like this influenced the actual carrying out of his field research (evidence gathering, etc). The Creationist viewpoint is likely to have prejudiced him towards a living pterosaur interpretation rather than any other possible interpretation of this cryptid.


posted on Dec, 16 2004 @ 06:34 AM
Here's the problem with many cryptids....

Must be a breeding population.

This further compounds flying cryptids, because it's VERY hard for aerial creatures to remain unseen.

While the idea fascinates me, it sounds like a wild goose chase....

posted on Dec, 26 2004 @ 08:02 AM
I don't think a breeding population is a concern. We have explored jungles but most of the time we don't manage to explore all or it. Its the same with mountain ranges. Being ariel doesn't make it less likely, it makes it more likely. When was the last time you looked up? Also, because they fly people are more likely to pass them off as crows, because their is almost nothing to compare it to.

[edit on 26-12-2004 by Voidmaster]

posted on Dec, 26 2004 @ 01:26 PM
It'd really be hard to hide a breeding population of something that size. They'd show up on radar, and so forth. Look how often we get pictures of bald eagles. The Ropers are supposedly bigger than that, and nobody confuses eagles with crows.

posted on Jan, 6 2005 @ 02:15 PM
I once mistaked a hawk for a Thunderbird. I thought it was flying REALLY high up until I saw it land on the trees in my backyard. Once my mom mistaked an red-tailed hawk with a crow the same way, only instead of a tree it was a Wal-Mart building.

posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 07:56 AM
I mistaked a budgy for a dinosaur bird! And my cats breath smells like catfood.

posted on Jan, 12 2005 @ 10:25 AM
I'm just a wee leary of a cryptid hunt sponsored by a vid-production co. Not saying they are not sincere, I think there is a possibility of special effects coming into play at some point.

posted on Jan, 18 2005 @ 02:37 PM
Woudn't it have evolved into a other specie by now?

posted on Jan, 18 2005 @ 02:39 PM
Maybe, maybe not...there are many creatures that haven't evolved much at all over millions of years....

Just look at Sturgeons, Crocodiles, or Republicans....

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 01:59 AM
I think that many of these third world areas have stories and creatures that we've never seen. And since these cultures are, for the most part, cut off from the rest of the world (no internet, no form of mass communication, etc...) these stories/creatures may not be uncovered untill we go in search of them. These Pterasaur stories sound very similar to the stories of the sauropod-like creatures reported to dwell in the amazon. Unlike some of the younger, more mindless, vicious, less sophisticated cryptids like the cupacabra, reptoids, and domocrats (sorry, had to throw it in there), these modern-age dinos seem to dwell more on their own, in smaller, more secluded populations in more remopte places... which would seem to make them harder to find.

[edit on 19-1-2005 by Greyhaven7]


posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 11:01 AM
I'm jdw. Since there are some very good comments and questions
here, I'll respond, though I do not blame any of you if you choose
not to believe some or any of my claims or opinions.

I'll not give out many details that are well covered in the web
pages which are accessed as noted at the beginning of this thread.
Those who want to investigate this subject can look through these
pages. (I'll be adding a few more pages within the next 24 hours)

This is serious research. I went to Papua New Guinea this past Sept.
I eventually arrived on Umboi Island. I interviewed many people:
perhaps 17 reliable eyewitnesses of this elusive creature they
call "ropen" on this island. There are hundreds of languages within
the many islands and "mainland" of PNG. Many names abound for what
some of us researchers consider to be one or two species of pterosaur.
On this particular island of Umboi, I discovered there is only one
such creature, though it is extremely large: According to the best
eyewitness account I have, it has a wingspan of "seven meter".

Now to your interesting comments:

"I'm just a wee leary of a cryptid hunt sponsored by a vid-production
co. Not saying they are not sincere, I think there is a possibility of
special effects coming into play at some point."

This is a very good point to investigate! I'll try to make this short
as there is so much else to say, but:

1) I have years experience in animation, though most of it has been
in 2-D (not realistic). I have used another animator's 3-D model
in creating a short 3-D animation of a pterosaur flying through
the dark. (For an earlier video I produced to raise funds for
the expedition which I've already gone on) Hopefully within the
next 18 months we will have dramatic video footage of at least
one of the "ropens" in Papua New Guinea. Objective analysis of
such future footage (together with eyewitness testimony) should
be sufficiently realistic to assure that serious investigators
will realize that my 3-D animation skills did not create anthing
that is close to a real video of a real creature. Also, should
it become feasible, and one of these creatures is a risk to some
of the local people, I believe we could get permission to try to
capture such a dangerous one. The PNG government has already given
the go-ahead for a capture through one of my predicessors. With a
live (hopefully!) creature for examination, animation questions
will vanish away, obviously!

2) My video production skills have been a great asset in a number
of ways. I also realize that a superficial glance at the fact
that a production person is exploring for pterosaurs may very
well bring people's minds to movies with realistic 3-D animation.
I feel this is best countered by putting my cards on the table
at the beginning: I am a videographer with animation skills
who is honest and wants the truth to be made known about these
creatures on Umboi Island.

3) I hope to eventually have some return on the major investment
I have made in these explorations. (I still have mortgage pmts
and a family, etc) This, I thought originally, might be from
selling videos showing the ropen. I did not obtain any such
footage, so now my main hope at financial recovery is in some
book sales in the future. (net profit is questionable, though)

4) My video skills include professional camera operation and
knowledge. (not to mention equipment) Such things are an asset
when the goal is to videotape a ropen. Nevertheless, should
I be able to go on another expedition, I would consider taking
along a wildlife photographer/videographer. This would make it
more likely that we would obtain both dramatic footage of one
of these creatures AND footage of the people exploring for it.

As this is getting very long, I'll continue later . . .


posted on Jan, 20 2005 @ 09:58 AM
In regard to:

. . "it's VERY hard for aerial creatures to remain unseen . . "

"It'd really be hard to hide a breeding population
of something that size. . . "

I believe I know something about this point of view. In Western
culture, our news media coverage is often extremely detailed.
We don't just read or hear about a major accident, but we see
the aftermath on television. Experts give opinions on camera
and the wreckage is shown sometimes from several angles. The
accident itself is not usually shown as nobody is usually aware
that an accident is about to take place. (Cameras take time to
be taken out and set up.) In addition, the Western news media
organizations have much access to many Western cities. (I use
the word "Western" to mean the more developed countries/cities)

The result of this precise, detailed recording of major news
subjects is:

1) A large portion of the population
quickly becomes aware of a story

2) Many details are made known not only
in words but in pictures (still & video)

Such enormous coverage of so many stories makes it easy to
unconsciously assume that most important or dramatic events
are covered by the Western news organizations. Most people
do not think much on this, so unconscious assumptions are
not challenged.

Now to another perspective: When I was in a hotel shop last
September, (I was in a major city of Papua New Guinea, waiting
for a ship which would take me to Umboi Island.) I spoke with
the sales lady. (She appeared to be native to PNG) Not only
had she not heard about the ropen but she also did not know
anything about Umboi Island. When I spoke with people who
had lived (or were living) on smaller islands, (including the
island of Umboi) many of them knew about the creatures that
I was searching for. In other words, it seems that not only
do many people in major cities of PNG not know about the large
flying creatures (known by the name of "ropen" on Umboi) but
they are not familiar with the name of the island where it
is often seen: Umboi. (I should mention that some of these
people have heard of the island by its other name: Siassi,
but most people on the mainland do not know much about it)

Now to the third perspective: What does a local person do
on Umboi Island when he (or she) sees a ropen? Almost all
who live in the southern and northern villages are aware
of this creature. Most of what is spoken about it is in
old stories or legends. But what happens when someone SEES
this creature? Possibly nothing is said or done. Many of
the sightings are from a distance at night. There is no
danger to anyone. Not much is learned by briefly seeing
a fast-moving light in the distance.

Even if a local villager wanted to tell the rest of the
world about this creature, what could he do? There are
no telephones on this island. (no community electricity
either) Even if word got out to the mainland PNG news
media, (I reported my findings to a newspaper after my
adventures but that's somewhat different.) the most likely
response would be that it's just a local superstition.

What about these stories getting to the Western news media
people? In Western countries, the idea that all pterosaurs
became extinct millions of years ago is taught to us from a very
early age. This is rarely questioned. Any story about any
creature resembling a pterosaur is immediately suspected
of being false. (This is a long story so I'll stop here)

Here is the brief answer: Many people do see these giant
creatures in the Southwest Pacific region. These accounts
do not reach the Western news outlets or at least they are
not brought to the knowledge of Westerners through the news.

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