Tuesday, November 6, 2012

More on Manta Ray Misidentification

Modern Pterosaurs need not exist with precise characteristics predicted by any particular cryptozoologist and with no other characteristics. Neither must those flying creatures exist according to precise rules established by any particular paleontologist. Whatever animals now live on this planet, they live regardless of human dogmas about what they "should" be like. The key to knowing about what life is like is in human experience with those animals; that means eyewitness experience.

Manta Ray Fish Revisited

Mr. Dale Drinnon has again brought up the idea that sightings of live pterosaurs, "many" of them, come from misidentifications of Manta rays jumping out of the water. He usually gives no precise example from any precise sighting, but generalizes. Here are some of the problems with insisting on the jumping-Manta-ray conjecture:
  1. The example given by Drinnon, in his recent post, was a sighting in the Philippines. He said, "The Philippines sighting in specific lends itself to the Manta ray hypothesis most readily." But when he wrote that article he had very limited information on it. Critical details then came forward, which showed clearly that the sighting was not of a Manta ray fish jumping out of the water (two flying creatures over a city; claws between the wings; flapping frequency of once every three to four seconds, etc.)
  2. Modern pterosaurs need not be precisely the same as pterosaurs known from fossils. How many species of pterosaurs might have existed without leaving any fossils that have been discovered by paleontologists!
  3. If "many" sightings of modern pterosaurs are misidentifications of leaping Manta rays, why has Mr. Drinnon not given us many examples?
  4. Has Mr. Drinnon had a scientific paper published, in a peer-reviewed journal of science, on this subject? (Scientific papers supporting the existence of modern pterosaurs have been published.)
  5. How could any person see a Manta ray jump out of the water and come to believe it was an extant pterosaur? I have read nothing written by Mr. Drinnon that explains how such an incredible mistake could have taken place (generalities aside).
  6. He mentions the lack of a "fin" at the end of the tail, regarding the Philippines sighting, but he says nothing about the many descriptions of a Rhamphorhynchoid-like tail vane in many sightings from around the world. Why ignore that critical detail? Why mention its lack in one sighting while mentioning nothing about the many sightings when it is present?
Road to Discovery

When the first gorilla in Africa was officially acknowledged scientifically, was it because eyewitness descriptions matched what paleontologists told us should be still living? Did a fossil expert, in the nineteenth century, tell explorers in Africa that there must be a primate of certain characteristics, thus allowing explorers to find gorillas?

Why not examine eyewitness descriptions with an open mind? Why should pterosaurs be treated drastically different from other kinds of animals? Human experience should prevail in the progress of science. Dogmatically holding onto ones imagined images can stifle scientific progress, if enough people choose to ignore human experience in favor of mutually-imagined phantoms.

Manta Ray Interpretation of Live Pterosaurs
The misidentification of a Manta ray oceanic fish does not adequately explain any significant pterosaur sighting, not even one sighting that I have analyzed.

Pterosaurs are not Manta Rays
No offense to cryptozoologists who might want to believe in the following interpretation of Manta rays, but those fish are nothing like what eyewitnesses see when they report flying creatures they call “pterodacyls.”
Response to Dale Drinnon
Don't confuse two sources of knowledge. The limited knowledge we have of pterosaurs from fossils is not at all the same knowledge that we have from eyewitness reports of modern pterosaurs.