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Physicist Clifford Paiva found the wings to be apparently real

Modern Pterosaur in an Old Photograph

By the nonfiction author Jonathan David Whitcomb


Introduction to the Ptp “Pteranodon” Photo

This photograph of an apparent modern pterosaur has been around for a long time: According to some persons, such as Tom Payne, it was in an old publication that was published many years before Photoshop existed. So guess what many skeptic proclaim about the Ptp photo. Yes, they say it’s a Photoshop hoax.

I explain much about this in my nonfiction book Modern Pterosaurs.

Apparent Civil War soldiers with an apparent Pteranodon


In 2007, the well-known cryptozoologist Loren Coleman said of this photo only two words: “Verdict: photoshopping.” So where did he get that idea? Of course the old hoaxes, like a dinosaur alongside a group of Civil War soldiers, puts us into a frame of mind to assume that this photograph is also a hoax. But just remember that the American Civil War was a real event that happened long ago and large pterosaurs lived long ago, albeit we’re taught that it was much longer ago.

The point is this: When did any scientist examine this photo carefully before Loren Coleman’s declaration referring to a Photoshop trick? Perhaps never, that is until early in 2017, when two scientists looked at Ptp very closely and concluded that the apparent animal in the picture was most likely a real animal.

Before 2017, Clifford Paiva and I had written scientific papers, including the following two:

  • “Results of Investigations Concerning Pterosaur Sightings In Papua New Guinea” (Paiva)
  • “Reports of Living Pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific” (Whitcomb)

I doubt if Loren Coleman has ever written a scientific paper related specifically to the possibility that not all species of pterosaurs are extinct. The two publications mentioned above, by me and my associate Clifford Paiva, are not to be automatically taken as proof of extant pterosaurs, of course, but they are evidence that the two of us have taken that possibility seriously.

To be brief, the following are just a few of the points that we found, in 2017, that suggest a real animal was actually photographed and that it was extremely likely to have been a modern pterosaur. Here is a partial list:

  1. The curved neck of the apparent Pteranodon shows muscle structure.
  2. Shadows under the animal are consistent with a shadow under the shoe of a soldier.
  3. The physicist Clifford Paiva found what are probably image-stabilization props under the animal. These were often used in photography before about the year 1870.
  4. Whitcomb found a drag mark on the ground: consistent with a recently shot-down flying creature being dragged out from underbrush, into that clearing.
  5. Paiva and Whitcomb independently found a small tree that appears to have been broken down to make it possible to drag that animal into the clearing.
  6. Paiva found that at least some of the six men were using stances with their rifles that are consistent with a 19th century practice of keeping the human body motionless during the many seconds necessary for a camera to record a photo.
  7. Whitcomb magnified the images of the soldiers’ buttons and belt buckles and found that the pixel-width sizes were perfectly consistent with six men standing in the positions these six appear to be standing. In other words, the man in the front was actually standing in the front. In other words, these were men who were standing as they appear to be, NOT cutout images of soldiers being pasted onto an image of a monster in a clearing.

More Advanced Examination of the “Pteranodon” Photo

Now let’s consider a critic who has recently insinuated that at least part of this photograph was created digitally by creating one wing and then duplicating that wing to make the other wing. That hypothesis falls apart under close scrutiny.

Physicist Clifford Paiva found the wings to be apparently real

Paiva and I have carefully examined the whitish part of the outer areas of the two wings. We may have been the first persons to have noticed that patterns are very similar from wing to wing, with this white area. This brings up the idea that one wing was created and then duplicated, with modern digital image software, to make the other wing, which could easily be inverted horizontally. Paiva and I considered that possibility, but I found differences as well, early in 2017.

The recent skeptical remarks were that a wing must have been duplicated in that way, but look more closely. The wing shapes themselves, as we look at the darker outlines, differ greatly. Paiva and I independently experimented with wing duplicating, in September of 2017, and found that one wing cannot practically be manipulated in the way that two skeptics have insisted they were. We showed it experimentally, while the two skeptics, apparently, only imagined it vaguely in their minds. Any distortion that would allow one wing shape to come to resemble the other wing shape caused great distortion of the whitish area.

The best explanation for the similar patterns in the whitish areas of the wings is this: It is biological similarity, not from any digital hoax manipulation.


The Ptp photograph continues to pass anything that skeptics throw at it. It becomes more clear, as we examine it, that the best explanation is this: That apparent animal was an actual animal that was photographed, not in any way, in any part, created through anything like Photoshop.



Living pterosaurs in Africa

What about the kongamato? It may be the same flying creature that is called “Batamzinga” in Kenya or “ropen” in Papua New Guinea.


Nonfiction Books About Living Pterosaurs

Quoting three cryptozoology books that are about non-extinct pterodactyls


A Modern Pterosaur in a Photo

Yet before the beginning of 2017, before Cliff and I began our joint investigation of Ptp, the typical skeptic would say, in response to this photo, something like, “It’s a Photoshop hoax.” One skeptic said that it was a very good Photoshop job, but that it was a hoax. Cliff and I found significant evidence, however, that it is not only much older than that digital image manipulation software but that it has evidence that the soldiers were actually standing in the way that they appear to be standing and that the animal was a real animal.


Ptp photo of a modern pterosaur (~ Civil War time)

Problems in an online publication by an extreme skeptic of living-pterosaur investigations


More than one prop in the photograph

I’ve written about the tree-branch prop used when this “Ptp” photo was recorded, indicating it was probably before about 1870 when those six men were standing over the body of the pterosaur. . . . The scientist Clifford Paiva has recently found another prop, this one under the left wing of the animal.


Is the ropen a living pterosaur?

We have reports of modern pterosaurs in other parts of the world including the United States: California, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, Maine, Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Georgia,North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania,Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas,Oklahoma, Kansas, and other states.



Nonfiction book about the “Civil War” pterosaur photograph Ptp


non-fiction cryptozoology book about a photo of a real modern pterosaur

Modern Pterosaurs – by Jonathan David Whitcomb


Star Wars Book for Children

Many children enjoy this best selling picture book: Star Wars Character Encyclopedia, popular on Amazon for two years now. Of course the child who already has in interest in the Star Wars movies will probably be most interested in this science fiction book.

From the table of contents:

Who planned the Rebel assault on the first Death Star? Which surly alien lost an arm in a Mos Eisley cantina? The Star Wars galaxy is full of heroes, villains, aliens, creatures, and droids. All have played their part . . .

More than two hundred are included in this book, with only a few mentioned here:

  • Admiral Ozzel
  • Admiral Piett
  • Anakin Skywalker
  • Bantha
  • Battle Droid
  • Bultar Swan
  • C-3PO
  • Captain Antilles
  • Captain Typho
  • Chewbacca
  • Colo Claw Fish
  • Commander Bacara
  • Count Dooku
  • Crab Droid
  • Darth Maul
  • Darth Vader
  • Dwarf Spider Droid
  • General Grievous
  • General Veers
  • Han Solo
  • Imperial Droids
  • Imperial Red Guards
  • Jabba the Hutt
  • Jar Jar Binks
  • Jawa
  • Lando Calrissian
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Mace Windu
  • Naboo Guard
  • Nexu
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Palpatine
  • Pit Droid
  • Princess Leia
  • Queen Apailana
  • Qui-Gon Jinn
  • R2-D2
  • Rancor
  • Rebel Trooper
  • San Hill
  • Sandtrooper
  • Scout Trooper
  • Shmi Skywalker
  • Shock Trooper
  • Snowtrooper
  • Space slug
  • Yoda

And many more


Two hundred plus characters included in this Star Wars picture book, including heroes, villains, and robots

Star Wars Character Encyclopedia – hardcover book



Child Care in Long Beach

. . .  licensed family daycare home that has given over twenty years of loving secure care for children in Long Beach, California . . .


New Non-Fiction Book From Long Beach Resident

Jonathan Whitcomb, of the Bixby Highlands neighborhood of Long Beach, has published the second edition of a non-fiction book that may benefit some teenagers who are troubled with mild malaise. The subject matter, eyewitness sightings of apparent living pterosaurs, may seem like science fiction or fantasy, but the genre is cryptozoology, in the strict non-fictional sense. The author does not recommend his book as any substitute for professional intervention for depression cases, but offers it as one tool for some cases of boredom in teenagers.

Part of the original purpose for writing the book Live Pterosaurs in America was to comfort eyewitnesses who doubted their sanity, because they had seen something that their Western culture teaches us we should not see: a live “pterodactyl.” Indeed, many of the readers of the first edition of the book may be eyewitnesses or may know eyewitnesses of the strange flying creatures, according to the author. After writing the second edition, Whitcomb realized the potential the book has for relieving mild boredom in some teenagers. In fact, one pre-teen in Florida became so excited about the subject, he began his own investigation, interviewing an eyewitness whose sighting is documented in the second edition of the book.

.Cover of the nonfiction book "Live Pterosaurs in America"