In a Nutshell


Genuine Photograph of an Extant Pterosaur

by on Mar.23, 2017, under Strange

On January 14, 2017, Clifford Paiva (a physicist in California) and Jonathan Whitcomb (a forensic videographer and cryptozoology author in Utah) jointly declared their belief in the authenticity of an old photograph that contains an image of an apparent recently-deceased Pteranodon.

Previous to that date, skeptics had dismissed the photo as being a hoax created by Photoshop. Paiva and Whitcomb, however, have declared that they have discovered numerous evidences that no digital image manipulation was involved and that the photo has distinctive evidence that it was recorded prior to 1870.

This is a study in cryptozoology, with an apparent “living fossil” that appears to have been a Pterodactyloid pterosaur. Paiva and Whitcomb stopped short of insisting that the animal was a species of Pteranodon, but they have pointed out the obvious similarities in appearance between this image and what is known from Pteranodon fossils.


old Civil War photo verified authentic

“Ptp” photograph declared authentic by Paiva and Whitcomb, January 14, 2017


“Missing Fingers” and Photoshop

Prior to 2017, the most damaging apparent evidence against the photo were the missing fingers on the hand of the man on the far left. That lack of fingers was used by some skeptics to ridicule the image as a Photoshop hoax. But serious errors have been pointed out by Whitcomb, regarding the hand of that man.

According to Whitcomb, the way that those fingers would have gone missing from using Photoshop would have been in a digital cut-and-paste: A soldier-image would have had his arm out to his right (our left) as if holding a rifle but the rifle-image would be pasted over that part of his hand. In other words, a hoaxer would have had to find a photo of a soldier that had his arm out as if holding a rifle but without any rifle. That alone would shoot down the Photoshop conjecture, regarding those missing fingers. How many Civil War soldiers had their photographs taken while holding out their arms, as if holding their rifles, but without any rifle?

But Whitcomb found a reasonable explanation for the missing fingers. He noticed that another soldier was holding a rifle with the ram-rod showing. The soldier on the far left (with missing fingers), however, had a rifle in which the ram-rod was not visible. Apparently the rifle was turned in such a way the the ram-rod was behind the camera’s view. That soldier was holding his rifle by the ram-rod, making the ends of his fingers not visible to the camera.

Discovery by a Physicist

Paiva found a branch under the beak of the animal. It was, apparently, used as a prop to keep the man’s foot and the animal’s beak steady during the many seconds of exposure needed for the photograph. That length of time for the exposure of a photograph was necessary before about 1870, so props were often used to keep people perfectly still.


copyright 2017 Jonathan Whitcomb


The original Civil War pterosaur photo

The photograph now called “Ptp” has been around for a long time, possibly in one or more books in the mid-20th century, according to a number of persons who report remembering it.

A Pteranodon in a Civil War Photo

The American physicist Clifford Paiva found evidences of the photo’s authenticity, after examining the details. One of those was a shadow of the front soldier’s shoe on the beak of the animal. Paiva declared that this shadow is consistent with other nearby shadows.

Dinosaur or pterodactyl in a Civil War photograph

Years ago, a scientist in California began noticing details in a photograph, clues that the image of an apparent modern pterosaur was genuine. On January 14, 2017, I spoke with Clifford Paiva (a physicist) by phone. We agreed that the photo (now labeled “Ptp”) has a genuine photographic image of a modern pterosaur. Some people call this kind of animal a “flying dinosaur” or a “pterodactyl.”

Skeptical Responses to Civil War Pteranodon Photo

The dead flying creature seen in the “Pteranodon photograph,” (Ptp) although it may be called a “pterodactyl” by some Americans and a “ropen” by others, could be a pterodactyloid pterosaur, possibly without the long tail that ropens are seen to have.


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“Living Pterosaurs of Hollywood”

by on Jun.18, 2013, under Strange

Two separate eyewitnesses reported one or more strange flying creatures, a few miles east of Hollywood, in 2013. The sightings were ten weeks apart, just 1.5 miles from each other, and near Griffith Park.

The first witness reported three “dragons” that glided over the Interstate-5 Freeway. The second witness reported one “pterosaur” that glided over that same freeway, but a little further to the south.

Both eyewitnesses reported their encounters to the cryptozoology author Jonathan Whitcomb, who concluded that they had observed the same species. He calls it “ropen.”

According to some cryptozoologists, those flying creatures are descended from what paleontologists call “basal pterosaurs,” the long-tailed ones that were supposed to have become extinct before the more famous “pterodactyls” that are often portrayed in film and on television, in science fiction and fantasy. Whitcomb calls his books about the modern flying creatures “nonfiction.”

Pterosaur Sightings East of Griffith Park

How delighted I was, this past March, to receive an eyewitness report of three “dragons” flying over the I-5 freeway in Los Angeles! . . . How delighted I was, earlier this month, to received an eyewitness report of a “pterosaur” flying over that same stretch of freeway just east of Griffith Park!

Pterosaurs East of Griffith Park

This morning at about 6 a.m. I saw three “dragons” flying over the 5-North freeway between Griffith Park and Glendale. . . . with a head-body-tail ratio that was certainly not that of a bird. Their wings were long, angular and pointed and their tails had triangular points. They appeared light in color—white, gray or light green. . . .

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Eyewitness Reliability Regarding Modern Pterosaurs

by on Jan.10, 2013, under Strange

According to the cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb, “Trust one eyewitness of a plane crash over the imaginations of a hundred professors who’ve agreed how that plane should fly.” He believes eyewitnesses of modern pterosaurs, or at least apparent flying creatures whose descriptions seem to indicate they are pterosaurs.

According to Whitcomb, eyewitnesses from a number of countries have reported similar details, such as non-feathers, long tail, and head crest. Not that Whitcomb himself has ever seen a modern pterosaur, but he proclaims his believe in them because of the eyewitnesses, who have sent him reports from Africa, Europe, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

The latest sighting was by a U. S. Marine in Missouri, who reported a large “pterosaur” that frightened some chickens. The creature had a long tail that had a “diamond shape at the end” and a “cone protruding from behind its head.” With a wingspan of at least “ten feet,” it was no wonder the chickens turned chicken. The eyewitness also reported, “I’ve seen enough documentaries about dinosaurs, watched enough movies about dinosaurs, been to enough museums, seen enough fossils; I know it was a pterosaur.”

Pterosaur Eyewitness Reliability

The first pterosaur fossil discovery, in 1784 (four years before George Washington was elected president), was decades before Charles Darwin began writing

Who can be a Pterodactyl Expert?

Fossils experts know about the bones of pterodactyls, but can a cryptozoologist be an expert on modern pterodactyls?

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Pterosaur Sightings in Georgia, U.S.A.

by on Jan.03, 2013, under Strange

In recent years, several eyewitnesses in Georgia have been shocked to see a living pterosaur, notwithstanding biology textbooks’ declarations about extinctions millions of years ago. But sightings are not confined to Georgia; they have also been reported in surrounding states, in particular Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Sighting in Northern Georgia, July of 2010

“My wife and I were sitting outside when motion from above the tree tops to our left caught my attention. It’s very hard to explain how I felt at that moment. We were looking at two extreamly large birds flying together and heading north towards the NC border.

“Both birds had what I can only guess to be 15-20′ wing spans and the motion of their wings as they flew was very slow. The head was long and ended in a point, wings ended in a point and appeared to be featherless, they had a tail of sorts.”


Live Pterosaur in Georgia?

Reports of living “pterodactyls” in Georgia, during the past seven years, probably relate to sightings of some flying creatures in South Carolina and Florida


Pterodactyl in Georgia

On Dec 10, 2012, myself and wife were driving home at around 1:30 am on Briscoe Rd in Loganville, Georgia. As we crested a hill, our light came down across a large flying animal that I instantly thought looked like a pterodactyl

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“Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” Video

by on Dec.26, 2012, under Environment, Strange

On December 18, 2012, an apparent home video appeared on Youtube, apparently showing a large bird of prey grabbing a toddler in a public park in Montreal, Canada. Skeptics quickly pointed out suspicious elements of the video, including a mother who is too slow in reacting to her baby being carried up into the air. It also seemed suspicious that the mother did not scream and seemed to just slowly jog over towards where the baby was eventually dropped by the eagle.

Other skeptics revealed aspects of the video which severely brought into question its authenticity, strange combinations of shadows and an artificial look to the “toddler” when individual frames were magnified. News professionals were suspicious of the apparent attack when they learned that nobody had reported any problem, to the Montreal police or newspapers, regarding any bird in any park.


video image with computer animation of "eagle" that snatches "baby" in a park in Montreal

Did an eagle actually carry a toddler?

An animation studio in Montreal soon admitted the hoax, for students at their school fabricated the attack with computer-generated models of a bird and a baby. The special effects video was said to have taken 400 student-hours of work.

Eagle Video Hoax

You’d think small children were no longer safe in city parks. From among those 36 millions viewers, perhaps hundreds of thousands of parents and grandparents became concerned about the safety of toddlers in open areas like that park in the video. It was unfortunate but unnecessary, for the pickup never happened.

Monkey Bird or Pterosaur in State of Washington

The flying creatures were named by the eyewitness “monkey-birds,” not from an appearance resembling any monkey or bird but from the strange sound they make.

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