One of the problems with the cryptozoology.com forum thread discussion titled “Jonathan Whitcomb: Pterodactyl Expert” is this: Most of the comments involve attacks against me personally (the exception being comments from the person who seems to have initiated the discussion). I now answer two criticisms.
From “Ape Man”
“Johnathon Whitcomb IS NOT a pterosaur or pterodactyl expert. He is a CREATIONIST who did minimal research about legendary creatures and fossil flying reptiles . . .”
In the sense of being a paleontologist, I am not a pterosaur expert; but many paleontologists do not seem to even consider the possibility that any pterosaurs are extant. “Ape man” seems to rebel against any idea involving any modern living pterosaur. But in another sense—some living pterosaurs (AKA “pterodactyls”)—I am probably one of the leading “pterodactyl experts” in the world, having written more than any other cryptozoologist on this subject, perhaps more than all other cryptozoologists in the world combined, regarding sightings of apparent modern pterosaurs.
Earth Age and the “Creationist” Label
I consider myself a creationist in the sense that I believe the Bible is literally correct in the first few chapters of Genesis. But I am not a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) in the sense that I insist that the days spoken of in the first chapter of Genesis are 24-hour periods. I have no problem with a literal “old” earth, setting aside all concepts about life on earth; this world, in its bare form, may very well be much older than 6,000 years. But I believe that the life that we see around us is descended from similar life-forms, in original ancestors that lived about 6,000 years ago and that those original ancestors had no ancestors on this earth. In that sense, I am a creationist, and accept that label, for I give God the credit for the origin of earth life.
Have I done “minimal research?” From what I have read of “ape man’s” comments on this forum thread, I doubt if he has read more than 1% of what I have written about modern living pterosaurs. Where does he get his concept of how much research I have done? How did I write over one thousand online pages (blog posts plus web pages)? How did I write two editions of one nonfiction book and three editions of another nonfiction book? How did I write a peer-reviewed scientific paper that was published in a journal of science? How did I write about a quarter of a million words, online, (not counting the books) on the subject of extant pterosaurs? With many thousands of sentences to choose from, why does “ape man” not quote something that I have written and then explain how I was wrong? Has “ape man” himself done “minimal research” and then carelessly proclaimed that I have done “minimal research?” He gives me no reason to doubt that possibility.
From Gerry Bacon
“I don’t believe Whitcomb is a scientist . . .”
Defining “scientist” is off-topic, I believe, and too deep for this reply; but I will stress this point: I have interviewed eyewitnesses, from around the world, for eight years, accumulating more data on this phenomenon of pterosaur sightings, perhaps, than anyone else, regardless of whether or not other investigators have the undisputed title of “scientist.” I have published an article in a journal of science—a peer-reviewed journal—and have copyrighted an earlier scientific paper on another subject. I consider myself a scientist.
I take no offense at somebody who doubts I am a scientist, and I admit that in regard to paleontology I may be the most ignorant scientist in the world, among those who have published a scientific paper (in peer-reviewed journal) on the subject of pterosaurs. But why emphasize a label for a person rather than the reasoning and writings of that person? I feel that the eyewitness sighting reports, of apparent living pterosaurs, are far more interesting than speculations about a label.
Call me a non-paleontologist if you like, but beware of assuming I must be a non-pterodactyl-expert (or more technically accurate: a person who is not a pterosaur expert). Let’s get back to the subject, please.
What “invented monster” is “ape man” referring to? My overall conclusion, after more than eight years of research, is that there are a number of species of pterosaurs living in various parts of the world, with various differences in appearance. What do the important sightings have in common? Descriptions of the flying creatures (often called “pterodactyls”) suggest a modern pterosaur far more than they suggest any misidentification or hallucination or hoax.
It is true that I do not study fossils directly. I am not a paleontologist. But modern “pterodactyls” need not closely resemble any fossils, whether or not they are descended from older species that left fossils that are now studied by paleontologists. I study eyewitness reports. For some reason, my critics often neglect that point.