American Hammerhead Ropen

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The American cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb gave the name "American Hammerhead Ropen" to a type of apparent Rhamphorhynchoid that has been reported, over a period of decades, to live in North America. This apparently featherless flying cryptid resembles the ropen of Papua New Guinea, which has also been described as a large long-tailed pterosaur.

Sightings in the Forty-Eight Contiguous States of the USA

Georgia (by Sandra Paradise; interviewed by Jonathan Whitcomb)

"One sighting was at 7 in the morning, and one was at 9 a.m. Both days were overcast days, which I feel was very conducive to me seeing them: no sun in my eyes." (At the time of those sightings, she drove to work traveling east in the mornings.)

"I live in a small town in northeast Georgia, called Winder . . . about 50+ miles from Atlanta . . . 15 miles of this commute lie along one road, Hwy 82 [She works in Athens, GA] . . . there are only two 4-way stop signs along the way, and houses, but they are rather sparse and spread apart. The wooded areas are very thick, pines mostly, some hardwoods.

"On August 27 [2008], I woke up very early in the morning and could not go back to sleep, so I decided to go ahead, get up, and get to work early . . . This put me in the road at about 6:45 a.m. The day was overcast; we were just getting over tropical Storm Fay . . . I had driven less than ten miles from the house. I had come thru a section of pasture, entering into a section of thick woods, driving around a slight curve downhill---there are high wooded banks on each side of the road there---and suddenly an animal flew out from my right. . . .

"It flew directly in front of my car . . . it was tan, a lighter brown, like the deer we have here, and as far as I could see [it] was uniform in color. . . . As it leapt out from the woods, I saw it from below, and the tail was very long with a shape on the end. Its wings were probably half-spread and I saw several dark thin horizontal bands across the belly. . . . As it crossed my path, in front and slightly above me, I saw it had a head that was curved, like a hammer; the head had a crest on the top that was solid, not feathery at all . . .

"The tail was long, had a ridge that ran along the underside, and ended in a thick, heart-shaped pad. The tail I got a good look at. . . . I was floored. I knew what it was. I couldn't believe what it was. But I knew what it was."

Sightings in Cuba

Report of Eskin Kuhn's Encounter

Eskin Kuhn was assigned, as a U.S. Marine in 1971, to the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The following is taken from the nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, fourth edition:

“I was looking in the direction of the ocean when I saw an incredible sight. . . . I saw two pterosaurs (or pterodactyls, what’s in a name?) flying together at low altitude, perhaps 100 feet, very close in range from where I was standing, so that I had a perfectly clear view of them. The rhythm of their large wings was very graceful, slow and yet they were flying and not merely gliding . . . their span could have been 8 feet or 12 feet." [words of Eskin Kuhn]

"I did find it interesting that he had assumed that his sighting was very unusual, that any other sightings of modern pterosaurs would be of creatures without long tails. I assured him that reports of long tails were in fact more common by far than reports of the absence of a long tail." [comment by the author, Jonathan Whitcomb]

Statistics on Sightings in the Forty-Eight Contiguous States of the USA

According to data compiled by Jonathan Whitcomb, at the end of 2012, many eyewitnesses see a long tail when they encounter an apparent pterosaur in the Lower-48 states of the USA: 38% were long-tailed, and 5% were not long-tailed, more than a 7-to-1 ratio.

Related to long tails, almost 28% of the reports included some description that suggests a Rhamphorhynchoid tail flange, and only 1% reported the lack of such a tail structure.

Hoax Conjectures and Statistics

One of the statistical evidences of a lack of hoaxes relates to details in the eyewitness reports regarding featherless appearances. In the forty-eight Contiguous states, 15.5% of the eyewitnesses were positive about the lack of feathers, but 21% believed in lack of feathers but reported that they were not 100% certain about featherlessness. According to Whitcomb, any significant number of hoaxes would make such a ratio extremely unlikely, for hoaxers would not admit any possibility of feathers, for they would have been trying to convince people that they had witnessed living pterosaurs. These statistics about non-feathers point to a lack of any significant number of hoaxes, if there were any hoaxes at all.

In addition, those ratios are similar in the world-wide sighting reports.

Details are available at Pterosaur Sighting Data

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