Caught On Video: Dinosaur Or Common Bird?
Reading through The Anomalist this morning, I ran into a link of a post over at Helium. Titled “Found alive: Two dinosaur species in Papua New Guinea [with videos]“. So yes. I instinctively clicked on the link.
I’ve seen those videos of the supposed pterosaurs or what many think is the cryptid creature called the Ropen. The native cryptid of Papua New Guinea, the Ropen, is supposed to be a large featherless creature that has been terrorizing the locals for decades.
The Ropen is a flying cryptid alleged to live in the vicinity of Papua New Guinea. According to the book Searching for Ropens, it is “any featherless creature that flies in the Southwest Pacific, and has a tail-length more than 25% of its wingspan.” On Umboi Island the word “ropen” refers to a large nocturnal creature that glows briefly as it flies. The ropen is the subject of folklore (like a man but also like a spirit) but it’s believed by some natives to be a real animal. Descriptions vary, but it is often said to be batlike, and sometimes, Pterosaur-like; although pterosaurs are believed to have been extinct for 65 million years. The ropen is believed to be nocturnal and to exhibit bioluminescence. Purportedly it lives on a diet of fish, though there have been some reports of the creature feasting on human flesh, especially grave robbery.
Article from Helium:
Dateline: Papua New Guinea, Southwest Pacific Ocean—The Ropen (‘demon flyer‘) is a monstrous creature that’s terrified the natives of Papua New Guinea for thousands of years. Another smaller creature, the Duah-possibly related to the Ropen-haunts some of the far flung outlying islands.
Now sensational eyewitness reports—collected by determined exploration teams seeking strong evidence of the creatures—have led serious researchers to the conclusion that two distinct animals exist.
The descriptions of both monsters match that of fabled pterosaurs—ferocious flying dinosaurs thought to be extinct for 65 million years.
The hunt for the glowing dinosaurs
Jim Blume and David Woetzel are two daring researchers that have explored the dangerous regions—including the treacherous outlying islands—where the prehistoric monsters are known to hunt their prey.
Not only have these two compiled eyewitness accounts of the creatures from frightened natives, and physical evidence of gigantic nesting sites in some of the mountainous cliff areas, both men have personally witnessed the soaring creatures—and Woetzel even shot some video footage of one.
First brought to the attention of Western missionaries following WWII, the often nocturnal flying creatures are described as having large bat-like wings, an elongated beak filled with razor teeth, sharp, tearing claws and a very long whip-like tail with a split or flange on the end.
Reports from natives and investigators indicate that the creatures glow in the dark and are clearly visible in the night sky. This phenomenon—called the ‘Ropen light’—was observed at length and videotaped by researcher David Woetzel. 
It’s hypothesized the bio-luminescent glow assists the creatures’ efforts to hunt and catch fish—their primary diet—in the deep darkness of the tropical night.
The evidence for two types of living pterosaurs
Although the Ropen and Duah have strikingly similar physical characteristics, the giant Ropen inhabits Papua New Guinea while the smaller Duah stays relatively close to the outlying islands.
Other than actual modern-day sightings of the two, a surviving 16th Century maritime chart lends credence to the hypothesis of two distinctly different creatures.
The 1595 chart cautions sailors about ‘sea monsters’ and depicts various coastal regions of Earth where monsters might be found. In the area of Papua New Guinea, two ‘sea monsters’ are illustrated: one is much larger than the other, yet both have almost identical physical traits. Each have long necks, prominent head crests, tails ending with a flipper like appendage and ridges along their backs. They are shown flying above an island. 
Despite the general consensus amongst orthodox zoologists that the creatures don’t exist, those that have actually traveled deep into Papua New Guinea’s primitive rain forests and tiny offshore islands are convinced the creatures are living there now—especially since they have seen them firsthand.
Furthermore, strong evidence exists that one type is very big with impressive 20-foot plus wingspans, while the smaller, island dwellers have 4 to 4 1/2-foot wingspans.
Blume and Woetzel are convinced that two different types of pterosaurs exist and the indigenous natives concur. The locals insist the Duahs are not Ropens.
Prehistoric throwbacks: the Dimorphodon and Rhamphorhynchus
Mounting evidence supports the contention that the large Ropen are living Dimorphodon pterosaurs, with dermal bumps and a head crest; while the numerous sightings of the smaller creatures that inhabit the caves of the islands dotting the Bismarck Archipelago are that of the supposedly extinct Rhamphorhynchus-a pterosaur with a wingspan of about 3 to 4 feet.
Blume’s investigations indicate that wingspans of some of the pterosaurs may reach 10 to15 feet, though several other investigators point out that natives have encountered Ropens with much larger wingspans. 
Most intriguing of all, the living pterosaurs may not be exclusive to Papua New Guinea. Similar creatures have been sighted and reported on and off for centuries throughout Central Africa.
The natives in the Congo, Zambia, Angola, Kenya and Zaire call the creatures ‘Kongomato.’ They assert the reddish African version has large, leathery wings, sharp claws, a split tail, and prominent teeth. 
While humans smugly believe they are the masters of this planet, the original rulers may still command some of the darker corners of this shrinking world.
It’s difficult to judge the true size on an object from a considerable distance. Especially if said object was floating through the skies, with no other objects in the background to compare it with. Judging size and distance in these cases can be extremely difficult to get right. So I was searching for any information on the local bird species in Papua New Guinea to see if any of them could be a match for what was seen gliding above the shore.
Frigatebirds are large, with iridescent black feathers (the females have a white underbelly), with long wings (male wingspan can reach 2.3 metres) and deeply-forked tails. The males have inflatable red-coloured throat pouches called “gular pouches”, which they inflate to attract females during the mating season.
Frigatebirds are found over tropical oceans and ride warm updrafts. Therefore, they can often be spotted riding weather fronts and can signal changing weather patterns.
These birds do not swim and cannot walk well, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week, landing only to roost or breed on trees or cliffs.
Could a Frigatebird be mistaken for the mythical Ropen, or even a pterodactyl ?