Still Living

Early Ropen Expeditions

Pterodactyloid pterosaurRhamphorhynchoid pterosaur

Carl Baugh, of Texas, went to Papua New Guinea in 1994, after missionary Jim Blume told him of accounts of pterosaur-like creatures there. He returned in 1996, again with Jim Blume. During these two expeditions, they interviewed about twelve natives, many of whom were eyewitnesses of creatures whose descriptions suggest pterosaurs. While these two investigators were near the shore of Manus Island (northern Papua New Guinea) Blume saw the form of a glowing creature, indistinct in details but about the shape and size of a large penguin.


One of the interviews was with a school teacher’s wife, who saw the ropen (also called “duwas”) when it attacked a funeral procession on Umboi Island. The creature with a glowing tail came from the sea, flying towards them, but the mourners yelled and banged bots; the ropen flew away.


Another islander described how they had to protect grave yards from the scavenger ropen. The ropen is believed to be similar to the kongamato of Africa (a pterodactyl?): Both are seen near water; both are scavengers.


Paul Nation accompanied Baugh in the 1994 expedition. Nation returned in, 2002, with his son, Nathaniel. They saw no ropens that year, but Paul Nation’s videos and interviews inspired other explorers who, following his advice, explored Umboi Island in 2004.


Jim Blume has been a major help in this research. He has been a missionary in Papua New Guinea for about thirty years and his language skills have been beneficial to researchers. He accompanied Baugh to northern PNG in 1996 and was interviewed by Garth Guessman in late 2004. He has spoken with about 70 people who have seen these creatures in various parts of PNG. Some of the interviews had him as an interpreter. Jim Blume was interviewed by Guessman by telephone (about 2000) and contributed much to the knowledge base of the ropen.


Are they still alive?

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young Gideon Koro of Umboi Island

Baugh, Blume, and Nation in Papua New Guinea

Young Gideon Koro, of Umboi Island, saw, in 1994, a frightening ropen (pterosaur) flying over Lake Pung; the creature was huge.

Morobe Province, including Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea

Central Papua New Guinea

with mainland on left and

Umboi Island (Siassi)

in the upper middle

another Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurhow ropen flew overhead one night
another Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur, smaller