The Cryptid Zoo: Pterosaurs and Pterodactyls in Cryptozoology

A reconstruction of Ornithocheirus, a pterosaur, in the documentary 'Walking with Dinosaurs.' This screenshot is copyrighted by those who own the copyright to the film.
Pterodactyls are flying reptiles that are presumed extinct by mainstream scientists, though some cryptozoologists disagree. Pterodactyls are part of a larger group called the pterosaurs. These animals were alive at the same time as the dinosaurs and often get labeled as dinosaurs by amateurs, though they are considered to be true reptiles, not part of the dinosaur group.

Reports of living pterosaurs and pterodactyls of various types have come from many places, even urban areas, but those that seem the most plausible come from remote areas of the world such as the jungles of Africa and the rain forests Papua New Guinea (a large island north of Australia). In Africa, the most famous pterosaur-like sightings are of a flying animal called the kongamato. It is described as red in color with no feathers, with bat-like wings, teeth in its snout, and is about six feet from wingtip to wingtip.
This pterosaur is from the third 'Jurassic Park' film. The copyright of this image belongs to those who own the copyright of the movie.

The ropen of Papua New Guinea is another famous pterosaur look-alike that hasn't been confirmed by science. It is described in terms that more precisely fit a pterosaur than any other known creature.

The more plausible "pterosaur" accounts have begun receiving different interpretations in recent years. Now, researchers favor the idea of there being one or more undiscovered species of giant bats. Since bats can have very odd-shaped heads, it could be that some bats happen to look like pterosaurs. Other explanations have leaned more towards dragons, since the creatures in "pterosaur" sightings sometimes look like a cross between a dragon and a pterodactyl. However, in order for that explanation to be correct, dragons would have to exist.

You can find out more about Pterosaurs and Pterodactyls from the following sources:

Brookesmith, Peter, ed. Creatures from Elsewhere. London, Chartwell Books, 1989. Pages 24-27

Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren. Cryptozoology A-Z. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. Pages 125-127

Clark, Jerome. Unexplained!. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999. Pages 492-494, 496-497

Coleman, Jerry D. Strange Highways: A Guidebook to American Mysteries & the Unexplained. Alton, Illinois: Whitechapel Productions Press, 2003. Pages 20, 39
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Coleman, Loren. Mysterious America: The Revised Edition. New York: Paraview Press, 2001. Page 237

Godfrey, Linda S., Hendricks, Richard D., Moran, Mark, ed. & Sceurman, Mark, ed. Weird Wisconsin: Your Travel Guide to Wisconsin's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. New York: Sterling, 2005. Page 108

Jornlin, Allison. The Brookfield "Thunderbird"

Keel, John A. The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings. New York: Doubleday, 1994. Pages 227-232


Moran, Mark & Sceurman, Mark. Weird N.J.: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004. Page 111

Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Page 66, 234-235, 243, 250, 277, 352, 372, 382-384, 401-402, 429, 434, 457-458

Shuker, Karl. The Beasts That Hide From Man: Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals. New York: Paraview Press, 2003. Pages 277-278, 284-285

Sundberg, Jan. Dragons Crashed in China

Unwin, David M. The Pterosaurs: From Deep Time.

Wellnhofer, Peter. Illustrated Encyclopedia of Pterosaurs.

Whitcomb, Jonathan. Pterosaurs Still Living

Whitcomb, Jonathan. Searching For Ropens - Living Pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea

Wikipedia, The. Kongamato

Wikipedia, The. Pterosaur

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