Pterodactyls Of World War II

by Daniel Russ on September 27, 2010


I was watching the History Channel a few months ago and ther two old grizzled WWII veterans were talking about a Pterydactyl they saw while sent to reconnoiter Japanese troops in Papua New Guinea. I started scrubbing around and found some things.

During World War II, an American soldier walked into a clearing near Finschhafen (New Guinea) with his buddy. Soon after entering the clearing, a wild pig (probably startled by the men) ran through the clearing and then a large “pterodactyl” took off into the air, probably startled by the pig. The veteran soldier, Duane Hodgkinson, now lives in Montana and has maintained, six decades later, that what they saw was a “pterodactyl.” Could that creature really have been a living pterodactyl? (The correct term is “pterosaur.”) Could those creatures be non-extinct?

Since 1994, a few Americans have explored, intermittently, a few areas of Papua New Guinea. Their research indicates that the apparent pterosaur seen by the two soldiers may be the same kind of creature called “ropen” on nearby Umboi Island. And yes, it does seem to be a living pterosaur.

Hodgkinson was, at first, a replacement, being assigned to an Australian military unit near Finschhafen in 1944. He was later in the 43rd Artillery. He has also had extensive experience with airplanes, including the Piper Tri-Pacer.

Here is some of what he related to Whitcomb in 2004:

“Hi  Jonathan,

. . . as I remember it was in 1944 that I was stationed in Finschafen [Finschhafen] New Guinea with the U.S. Military. While there I made several trips into some of the surrounding native villages with a friend of mine and a native guide (provided by the Australian government.)  On this one particular trip we had the wonderful opportunity to witness a pterodactyl take off from the ground and then circle back overhead and to the side giving us a perfect side view which clearly showed the long beak and appendage protruding from the back of its head (just like the ones that Fuzzy used to ride in the comic strip Ally Oop). It was a big one! I have a Piper Tri-Pacer airplane . . . and it appeared to be about that size. The frequency of it’s wing flaps was estimated about 1 or 2 seconds. With each flap we could hear a loud ‘swish, swish’ and the plants and brush immediately beneath its take off path were deflected by the down rush of air.”

After the “pterodactyl” flew away, the men remembered that they were carrying a camera. It’s not surprising that they forgot about the camera, as they were shocked: Their attention was riveted on the creature.

Hodgkinson later added:

“. . . my attention was concentrating on his head, the beak and the unique appendage extending from the back of his head . . . To answer your question about the neck, it was long.”

The pterodactyl’s tail was “at least” 10-15 feet long. The length of the head, not counting the appendage, was about three to four feet; the neck was similar in length. The length of the appendage at the back of the head was about half the head length.

In August of 2004, Whitcomb sent Hodgkinson a questionnaire to learn certain details about the creature. Later, Whitcomb visited Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, interviewing seventeen credible eyewitnesses. He was followed to the island by two other Americans who obtained significant new information. After analyzing and comparing these many evidences, Whitcomb concluded that the kind of creature seen by Hodgkinson in 1944 is very similar to the ropen of Umboi Island.

Here is another document I found on a cryptozoology website:


Three days ago, I received an email from R.K. (anonymous), of the Manus Island area of Papua New Guinea. (We starting communicating earlier this month.) The nocturnal flying creatures that he described to me–I believe they are ropens–were common and were dangerous to local fishermen previous to the early 1940’s, when their numbers declined. In these northern islands, the creature is called Kor.

Here is part of R.K.’s account of the Japanese retaliation against the creatures that had attacked them:

”…it was the japs [Japanese miliary] on the island who were attacked by the kor. They [Japanese soldiers] apparently shot several wounding them then followed them to cves [caves] and blew [blew up] the entrances. They called ships fire on the hills and pounded them for several hours.”

Source: Phantoms And Monsters Website and LAAttorneyVideo Website


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

John Persijn. July 11, 2012 at 6:34 am

US Intelligence reports during WW2 also made note of a fact, that local fishermen from one of the Batanese islands in the Bashi Channel (pron. Bashee) between Taiwan (Formosa) and the Philippines encountered attacks from what looked like a Pterodactyl. It is possible that those “birds” have escaped the Cretaceous-Paleogene Event or “worldwide- cataclysm” that supposed to wipe out the dinosaurs. In the late Harold T Wilkin’s book “Secret Cities of Old South America” (1952), reprinted in 1998, there is a whole chapter written about dinosaurs still alive today in many parts of the world, including the Roosevelt-Goyaz Plateau in South America (between 56 degrees Long.West to 52 degrees Long.West and 10 degrees Lat.South to 15 degrees Lat.South).
The missing explorer Capt P.Fawcett went to look for them after he mentioned seeing hugh animal tracks near the riverbanks. He mentioned it during a lecture for the Royal Geographical Society in London, 1911. See also the reports of Baron von Humboldt and Capt Charles Stewart Cochrain, RN (1820) and John Ranking, who published his “Historical Research concerning the conquest of Peru” (1827).

Daniel Russ July 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm


Thank you very much

Glen June 23, 2017 at 7:33 pm

What Whitcomb seldom reveals is that Hodgkinson’s friend, who was a biology student, denied that they saw a pterosaur. Moreover, there are many reasons to question the other “sightings” related by Whitcomb, a young-earth advocate whose methods are far from scientific, and whose reporting is far from objective. For more details see:

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