copyright 2005-2017 Jonathan Whitcomb
Papua New Guinea
An American Soldier
Sees a “Pterodactyl”
Does a living pterodactyl fly
over Papua New Guinea?
Photo by Jonathan
Read how Duane Hodgkinson
and many other eyewitnesses
have seen living pterosaurs in
Papua New Guinea. Get your
own copy of the nonfiction
book Searching for Ropens
and Finding God, 4th edition.
The author, Jonathan David
Whitcomb, also tells how he
worked with other Christians
in searching for living ptero-
saurs. They had faith in the
Bible, as they searched for
the ropen of Umboi Island.
Ropen Sighting in 1944
During World War II, an American soldier walked into a clearing
near Finschhafen (New Guinea) with his buddy. Soon after
entering the clearing, a wild pig (probably startled by the men)
ran through the grass.
That pig running through the jungle clearing probably startled a
creature that then starting running and flapping its wings. It flew
up out of the clearing and away over the trees. The two soldiers
were talking about what it could have been when it flew back
over the clearing, giving them another chance to look it over.
Hodgkinson was fascinated by the long horn-like appendage
coming out of the back of the head of the huge flying creature.
He centered his attention on the head of the “pterodactyl,” so he
did not notice what other eyewitnesses have seen: a diamond-
shaped flange at the end of the tail.
During interviews, years after the sighting, the American World
War II veteran gave an estimate of the wingspan of the apparent
pterosaur: similar to that of a Piper-Tri Pacer airplane (about 29
feet). Take that estimate in perspective: The jungle clearing the
two men were in was about 100 feet in diameter. That makes it
less likely that Hodgkinson grossly over-estimated the wingspan.
Background on the Sighting
In 1944, during World War II, what was then known as “New
Guinea” was not yet a nation. It would be decades before the
independence of Papua New Guinea would be established.
When the two American soldiers saw the “pterodactyl” in that
jungle clearing, they had no need to worry about Japanese
soldiers, for the enemy had left that area.
Duane Hodgkinson and his army buddy had obtained permission
to visit a village west of Finschhafen. On the way, the local native
guide had gone ahead as the two Americans looked at some large
ants in a jungle clearing.
At this time, Hodgkinson was a weather observer for the field
artillery. During part of his youth, he had lived in a farm in the
state of Ohio. In the early 21st century, when he was being inter-
viewed by Jonathan D. Whitcomb and Garth Guessman, he told
them that the jungle clearing, where he and his buddy saw the
“pterodactyl,” was about 100 feet in diameter. Taking all these
things in perspective together, that field was most likely close
to that size.
Years after the sighting, after he had owned a Piper Tri-Pacer
airplane, he estimated that the wingspan of the flying creature
was about the wingspan of that kind of plane.
Whitcomb noted that Hodgkinson’s deportment during the
videotaped interview and his demeanor while describing his
sighting suggested that he was mentally healthy and honestly
described a real experience. He is one of a number of reliable
Whitcomb was a forensic videographer working independently
for attorney firms in Southern California. He has more than an
average ability to judge eyewitness credibility, and he put this
skill to use during his ropen expedition in 2004.
This ropen, seen in Cuba in
1965, may be related to the
pterosaur seen in 1944 by
the American soldiers near
Finschhafen, New Guinea.
This native testified that he
had personal knowledge of
ropens: They catch fish.
The late Duane Hodgkinson’s
sighting was near Finschhafen.
His report of the encounter
has made a great contribu-
tion to the cryptozoological
investigations of the ropen of
the southwest Pacific.
Jonathan Whitcomb gave the World War II veteran a series of
silhouette sketches for determining some details that could be
used to make a composite sketch. These included head-crest
length, beak sharpness, and neck length:
PSL-A: Head-crest length
PSL-C: Confirming appendage length
PSL-E: Sharpness of the mouth / beak
PSL-F: Length of the neck
The cryptozoologist Garth
Guessman (left) interviewed
Duane Hodgkinson in 2005,
and the interview was video-
taped. It’s now free to watch
on Youtube; it’s very popular.