Recent Dragons or Pterosaurs

By the living-pterosaur author and scientist Jonathan Whitcomb

What a wonderful world we live in, a planet that provides for so many forms of life! For many human cultures and in many periods of history, people have had no difficulty in believing in flying dragons. Persons who had not personally witnessed such a flying creature might have known somebody who had, or at least they knew of the stories of dragons and recognized that those accounts were told within a culture that believed in their reality. That’s the way things were.

Unfortunately, comparably few Westerners have had such an open mind in recent generations. People have been indoctrinated into dinosaur and pterosaur extinction for a long time in Western countries, so they assume it must be some kind of mistake when somebody reports observing a living pterosaur (dinosaurs are beyond the subject of this post).

Once I get into a sighting report or begin to interview an eyewitness, I care little about the label used for a particular flying creature. Common is the word pterodactyl, although some eyewitnesses call it a dinosaur bird or a dragon. I care much more about exactly what the person saw. I suggest using this approach.


Two ropens seen by a U.S. Marine at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Sketch by eyewitness Eskin C. Kuhn, 1971, Cuba


Eyewitness Reliability

Skeptics and critics have seriously misunderstood and misapplied the concept of human error in observations. I’ve often seen this kind of criticism over the past 14 years that I have been investigating reports of living pterosaurs.

A typical remark from a critic, who replies to an account of an apparent extant pterosaur, is like this: “Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable.” What the critic fails to realize is this: Almost all of the most important scientific discoveries involved an important observation, a human seeing something. Of course repeatable experiments count for much in science, and a sighting of an apparent living pterosaur is not repeatable, unless a photo or video was recorded, or a scientist can go to that location and see something similar, but we need to keep in mind that all scientific progress requires observing something.

We also need to know that one thing that is even less reliable than direct eyewitness testimony. I wonder if any critic has realized that he or she is observing something while dismissing a recent or an old report of a sighting of an apparent living pterosaur. The critic is observing something in his or her imagination.

Indeed, that skeptic is looking at imagined extinctions of all pterosaurs, looking at the imagined weakness in another person’s ability to comprehend what was seen by the eyes, and looking at an imagined misidentification. In other words, while reporting the unreliability of human observation and comprehension of reality, the critic is reporting his or her own observation and comprehension of reality. The skeptic is looking at what is created in the imagination.

Of course we can see opportunities for an eyewitness to make a mistake while observing something with the eyes, but how easy it is for a skeptic to make mistakes while constructing things in the imagination! And why construct in the imagination only those things that would make a sighting of an apparent modern pterosaur invalid?

I, Jonathan Whitcomb, have seen much evidence, during my 14 years of investigating this subject, solid evidence that critics are trying to protect the old popular axiom of universal extinctions of all species of pterosaurs. Perhaps the skeptics feel comfortable with the idea that science is a collection of proven facts, and one of the “facts” is that certain species became extinct many millions of years ago.

I found this kind of definition of science in (first definition):

“a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths
systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws:
the mathematical sciences.”

I suggest that the first part of that first definition is a poor one. Better is the second definition found just below that:

“systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”

I found the following definition of “science” at the top of a Google search result (“definition of science”):

“the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”

Why do I prefer that definition?

  • It includes the word observation
  • It allows for future refinements: changes and modifications to older ideas


Very Recent Sightings of Living Pterosaurs

This past June (2017), my wife and I (Jonathan Whitcomb) interviewed three eyewitnesses of a “dragon” in Draper, Utah. With one of the sightings, a twelve-year-old boy and his mother were watching stars when the huge creature flew over their house. Both eyewitnesses were shocked by its appearance and the boy immediately wanted to go back into the house. With the third eyewitness, a man saw the same flying creature, or one like it, earlier in 2017, as it flew over his backyard. My wife and I found these three eyewitnesses to be very credible.

Two miles from the border with Wales, in Shropshire, England, in mid-September of 2017, a lady encountered two apparent living pterosaurs. She told me much, including this: “I saw two pterodactyls, side by side, flying past the tree. Now at first I had to check myself, because the first thing I thought was ‘those are blooooody big birds, that’s no lie.’ But what struck me was that it had a giant size beak and the wings had no feathers.”



Living pterosaurs

Sightings in the southern states of the USA


Dragon-pterodactyl in California

A 38-year-old woman in a residential neighborhood of Lakewood, California, just northeast of Long Beach, reported a “dragon-pterodactyl” that had no feathers but a long tail . . .


Publications About Living Pterosaurs

This includes books, some of which only mention modern “pterodactyls” briefly, but other books are entirely about sightings of extant pterosaurs.


How to report a live pterodactyl

Contact the cryptozoologist who specializes in living pterosaurs: Jonathan Whitcomb.


Pterosaur or dragon sighting in California

A lady in Lakewood, California, saw a “dragon pteradactal” in the middle of the day, on June 19, 2012, only about twenty feet away. She was shocked to see it but she also accidentally frightened the creature.


About men who’ve searched for living pterosaurs

Introduces four explorers who have looked for these flying creatures:

  • Paul Nation
  • David Woetzel
  • Carl Baugh
  • Josh Gates


Recent Pterosaur Sightings

You don’t need to go on an expedition to Papua New Guinea to see a modern pterosaur including a long-tailed featherless ropen. For generations, Americans have been encountering these shocking flying creatures, and the sightings continue.


Sightings of living pterosaurs

Near Pottstown, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia, three children observed an apparent pterosaur flying overhead.


Big Bird in Draper, Utah (actually a pterosaur)

On June 26, 2017, my wife and I met with several eyewitnesses in a neighborhood of Draper, Utah, (in the southern part of the Salt Lake Valley) a few miles west of the Wasatch Mountains. Each of the four persons we talked with lived within about 300 yards of each other . . .


Do Dragons Live in Griffith Park?

In the first five months of 2013, a total of four apparent pterosaurs have been reported in two separate sightings over the Interstate-5 Freeway, just east of Griffith Park. Both sightings were reported to me directly from each of the two eyewitnesses.

Early in the morning of March 3rd, a lady driving in a northbound lane saw three “dragons.” Ten weeks later, another lady, also driving in a northbound lane, saw a “pterosaur.” The second sighting, at 4:00 p.m. on May 13th, was only a mile and a half south of the first one.

Both eyewitnesses contacted me by email within hours of their sightings and answers my many questions over a period of several days. Although I found a number of differences in what they described, I found enough similarities to declare the two sightings involved the same species of ropen. My associates and I believe this kind of flying creature is an extant Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.

The first eyewitness, who is anonymous, saw three long-tailed flying creatures, not far to the southeast of the Los Angeles Zoo; she noticed the tails were long, thin, and ended in some kind of thickness. The second eyewitness, Devin Rhodriquez, saw one flying creature, and noticed.

Rhodriquez said, “I did see its head crest and the membranous charcoal gray/teal undertone skin. No feathers, and the wings were pointed and never flapped. It glided through the air with its wings in an arched position.”


Los Angeles River winds near east side of Griffith Park in Southern California - photo by DB's travels

Los Angeles River, near where four apparent pterosaurs were observed in two sightings, ten weeks apart in 2013, over the I-5 and just east of Griffith Park (photo courtesy of DB’s Travels)


Possible Pterosaurs East and North of Griffith Park

These were not the first reported sightings around Griffith Park, although they might be the closest. San Fernando Valley has also had its share of sightings in recent years, with one in Sherman Oaks and one in Sun Valley.

From the third edition of Live Pterosaurs in America:

“I just wanted to let you know that my girlfriend and I saw a creature . . . that baffled us [on the night of Sep 21, 2009]. It was a very large, winged creature that was gliding maybe 100 yards above us. We stared at the creature in disbelief because it was so strange . . . it didn’t look like a bird really . . . my girlfriend has 20-20 vision and she told a few minutes later that it had lights on it. That didn’t strike me as right so I asked her if she was sure and she said they weren’t lights exactly, but that the wings had a glow or reflection.” [Sighting in or near Sherman Oaks, California]

“It was late in the evening, almost dark . . . I was walking from my car to my house (Sun Valley) and something in the sky caught my eye. My girlfriend also looked up and right away said, “Is that a bat?” But she wears glasses so she has trouble seeing how close objects are. What caught my eye was the bright radiation like light coming from the belly of this Pterodactyl looking animal. I seen it fly right above us maybe 150-200 feet and this thing wasn’t no bat; it was bigger with large wing span, and when it flapped its wings it was kind of a slow lazy flap kind of gliding through the air. The animal radiated light from the bottom like when something is wet and you flash a light on it the light reflects back and shimmers . . .” [Sun Valley, CA]


Pterosaurs in Griffith Park

The point about this part of Los Angeles is the two sightings, ten weeks apart, over the Interstate-5 freeway that runs north-south on the east side of Griffith Park and the proximity to the Los Angeles River.


Non-Extinct Pterosaurs in Los Angeles

In the first sighting, three creatures were seen to have long tails with a structure at the tail end; no head crest was visible, probably because of a poor viewing angle for such. In the second sighting, one creature was seen with a head crest; no tail was noticed, probably because the eyewitness was concentrating on the head.


Recent Reports of Pterosaur Sightings

Reports of “flying dinosaurs” or “pterodactyls” have accelerated during the past year or so, probably because more and more eyewitnesses are becoming aware of the research of cryptozoologists like Garth Guessman and me, Jonathan Whitcomb. Some reports are of sightings that happened months ago or even years ago, accounts of flying creatures described like what scientists would call “pterosaurs.”