“Unlike Pterosaur Fossils” Objection

Eskin Kuhn's sketch of pterosaur that fly over a military base in Cuba

Sketch by Eskin Kuhn: 1971 sighting in Cuba

On occasion, I encounter an objection similar to this: “The eyewitness descriptions are different from fossils.” In other words, pterosaurs thought to have lived millions of years ago (according to standard models) did not have both long tails and head crests; also, long-tailed ones were not giants. But the objection that modern pterosaurs should not look like what is described—that point of view is plagued by a number of problems. It’s now time to put silly objections to rest and bury dogmatic universal-extinction ideas.

First, both the believers in standard models and the believers in Biblical creation accept the kinds of evolution that involve changes in size. Giant Rhamphorhynchoids (long-tailed pterosaurs) in modern times is not refuted by an absence of giant fossils. In addition, the largest ones could have been too rare to have left many fossils.

Second, fossils do not prove that no Rhamphorhynchoids ever had a head crest; in fact, at least one species is known to have had a head crest, at least a small one. A head crest in a modern giant long-tailed pterosaur is not what is revolutionary, for head crests can grow with age, as creatures grow.

But most important is the concept that many species of pterosaurs could have lived in the past, without leaving any fossil that we have yet discovered. The concept that a species that used to be rare somehow managed to survive (while others that left us more fossils, became extinct) and spread over parts of the earth–that concept alone seems reasonable enough to answer this objection.

Shallow thinking seems to be behind this objection, at least sometimes, for the critic’s explanation is that people are making up stories and putting together descriptions from different ideas that they have about pterosaurs in general. But that accusation involves a common knowledge about those characteristics of pterosaurs, and eyewitnesses come from different countries, from different cultures, from different educational backgrounds. Why would natives on Umboi Island describe a long tail on a giant featherless creature? They are not taught about pterosaurs in their tiny schools. And why would Westerners all make the same mistakes about giant size and long tails? These two characteristics are far too common to be a combination of hoaxes among people of different countries.

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About Jonathan Whitcomb

I'm a passionate investigator of reports of living pterosaurs throughout the world. I explored part of Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, in 2004, interviewing many natives who had seen the ropen.
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