June 24, 2011

Daylight Pterosaurs in Singapore

Last year, I received an email from an eyewitess who saw two pterosaurs in daylight when he was a boy in what is now part of Singapore. Somewhere between about 1958 and 1961, he was "wandering some distance from the village and was out on an adventure hunt one hot afternoon in a forested area."

He "came across a pair of them flying together and circling some tall palm trees (those with small orange coloured fruits) and then helping themselves to the fruits." He failed to recognize the significance of the flying creatures at that time; only recently has he concluded that he had seen living pterosaurs.

Low Cheng is well aware of the fruit bat called, in English, "Flying Fox." The two flying creatures he observed were far different: "they did not glide like these smaller creatures [fruit bats]. I have seen flying foxes many times at my location before (mostly seen in the night although sometimes we see them in the day too).

Pterodactyl in Singapore
My sighting occurred probably between the period 1958 – 1960 thereabouts when I was still a little kid. In those days we lived in a small village which was near a densely wooded area. Of course with the general development of Singapore to a metropolitan state it is today, the creatures, if they had propagated, would have [ventured] further south to the wilder regions to avoid civilisation . . .
Flying Fox Fruit Bat
For many years, reports of “pterodactyls” in Papua New Guinea were dismissed as misidentifications of Flying Fox fruit bats. Recent investigations on Umboi Island, however, bring to light an astonishing possibility: The creature called “ropen” does not hang upside down from a branch but holds itself upright on tree trunks. In addition, the ropen does not eat fruit but fish that it catches on reefs by using a bioluminescent glow as it flies at night, over the water. If that was not enough to contradict the fruit bat, the ropen has a long tail, almost half as long as its wingspan. Some reports indicate that there is something at the end of the tail that may correspond to the Rhamphorhynchoid tail flange. 

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