By the modern-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb
Introduction to the Ptp “Pteranodon” Photo
This is not about the hoax-photograph, with Civil War reenactors, done for the Freakylinks TV series that was on the Fox Network from 2000-2001. That photo shows a similar scene: apparent 19th-century American soldiers standing over the body of some apparently dead animal with apparent wings. The Feakylinks hoax photo, however, shows a soldier on the far left who appears to be so heavyset that his military shirt could not be buttoned (a very uncommon build for a common soldier in the Civil War). In addition, the thing on the ground is unconvincing: more like a shaped canvass than an actual animal. That fake-photo has very limited relevance to the Ptp photo.
The photograph we’re examining here is called “Ptp” and has been around much longer. It was surely used, by the producers of Freakylinks, as a model for their crude imitation.
Figure-1: Ptp photograph, now declared to have a genuine image of a modern pterosaur
What is That “Monster” in the Civil War Photograph?
The Ptp photo has been around for a long time, apparently long before Freakylinks episodes and decades before Photoshop existed. The physicist Clifford Paiva (California) has examined this older photo in detail, finding a number of clues that this was a real man with his foot on the beak of a real animal. The scientist found a number of details in the head and neck that point to the shocking conclusion that this is a genuine photograph of a modern pterosaur, with details strongly suggesting a Pteranodon.
That means it is probably not a ropen, which is a modern Rhamphorhynchoid (“basal”) pterosaur. Pteranodons known from fossils are of a different type: Pterodactyloids. With that said, we cannot be absolutely sure this is not a ropen, for the framing of the photo does not reveal a tail or lack thereof.
All of those non-bat featherless flying creatures have been presumed extinct, by many paleontologists, with their presumed extinctions coming many millions of years ago. My associates and I, however, have received eyewitness reports from around the world, many accounts of pterosaurs that are very much alive.
I’ve written much about the Ptp Civil War photo, on many blog posts, so I’ll not repeat many details here, on why Paiva and I are convinced this is a genuine image of a modern pterosaur. We instead answer a question.
Why Don’t we Have More Photos of Modern Pterosaurs?
I’ve often answered a similar question, by book or blog post, over the years, but here’s another man in Arkansas who agrees with me. Two years ago I got his email, which included the following (he did not see a pterosaur but another kind of unusual animal):
. . . I have searched on the internet for others who have seen things that shouldn’t exist, and one of the things I see sceptics ask is why has no one . . . taken a decent picture . . . every cell phone has a pretty good camara.
Well I know why I didn’t get a picture. My cell phone was in my pocket and I was standing there with a sandwich in one hand and a coke in the other. When this thing stuck its head up I just froze. I grew up in the woods so when a critter pops up I instinctively freeze so as not to scare it away. My first reaction was HUH???!! Is that what I’m seeing?? WHAT THE???!!!
People see car wrecks all the time and no one denies that car wrecks happen. But when you see a car wreck your reaction is WHOA! Did you see that?! Only after the initial shock wears off do you reach for a camera.
When I saw that thing rise up out of the lake, just feet in front of me, my first reaction was not, “oh look at that, I think I’ll take a nice picture” it was unbelief at what was right in front of me.
After a few seconds I slowly put my sandwich down and reached in my pocket for my phone. The thing saw me moving and looked right at me. As soon as it made eye contact it flinched and then dissapeared into the lake. When most people see something like a ropen or something that is not supposed to be there, The first reaction is either they think they are mistaking it for something else or if they see it well enough to be beyond doubt their mind is mostly likely trying to make sense of it rather than thinking about getting out a camera. Then the opportunity is gone. . . .
I think that sums up the answer well.
Notice the Civil War reenactors in Figure-1. This is an early-21st-century hoax photo for the Freakylinks television series produced by Haxan Films . . . Now I recommend you look at the original photograph [the one declared genuine in January of 2017]
“Do nothing to refute mainstream geology” are the words of Glen Kuban. This phrase, however, is a clue that he is actually protecting a philosophy, for science, by its nature, is expected to bring about changes in opinion about what we used to think: changes.
This photo is not to be confused with the hoax-image said to have been created by an American film and television production company named “Haxan” (possibly a “Freaky Links” episode for Fox TV in 2001). The Haxan-photograph is indeed a hoax, probably influenced in its fabrication by the earlier photo that is now declared authentic.
. . . the flying creature appeared to have been a ropen. According to the mother of the children (who were with her in their backyard) . . .