How cryptozoologists fail at pterosaur research
Here’s a simple list as to how you’re batshit stupid if you believe in the average cryptozoologist reports of pterosaurs:
1- According to cryptozoologists, anything with leathery wings is a pterosaurs. Pterosaur wings, while membranous, weren’t leathery at all; they were highly complex organs, with several layers of muscle and collagen fibers, and in at least some species there were air sacs and pycnofiber coverings. The closest analogy I can think of are manta ray flippers, and even then that analogy is way off. We can tell right away something is not a pterosaur is it’s wings remind you of a bat’s.
2- Many reports depict traits like grasping feet, bipedality, and other eagle/raptor like hindlimb traits. Suffice to say, none of this is taken seriously among pterosaur researchers.
3- Most reports have obvious identities as local avifauna or chiropterofauna. Several reports of “living pterosaurs” have turned out to be ducks, which is a mistake easy to make in lowlight conditions, as ducks have pointed wings, tooth-like pecten and short, triangular tails (and, in some species, impressively long tail feathers). Most known kongamato reports can easily be attributed to the Saddle Bill Stork, whose wings, typical of stactic soaring birds, have finger-like feathers that could easily be mistaken for bat wings. The Olitiau is most defenitely a flying fox, and so are many supposed Ropen reports.
That said, I do think investigating Ropens is necessary. Even if they aren’t pterosaurs, a bioluminescent bat or bird is always interesting.