Honestly, I Told the Truth

I don’t have any university degree in paleontology, but aren’t fossil experts supposed to write about fossils? Is not the favorite subject of conversation, for a paleontologist, the remains of ancient, primitive dinosaurs and pterosaurs? That’s what I thought, until last month.

A celebrated American paleontologist, whose name I’ll not mention here, wrote a post about me . . . not the ancient, primitive aspect of me; it was about honesty or propriety in online publishing. Actually, it was about my apparent use of “deception” in my own online publications. Strange, but not once did that highly acclaimed professor mention the word fossil, and that needs looking into.

For eleven years, I (Jonathan Whitcomb) have been a cryptozoologist, with a special interest in eyewitness accounts of flying creatures that look like pterosaurs, commonly called pterodactyls. I have given my opinions honestly about various levels of credibility in the individual reports that I have received from eyewitnesses on four continents plus islands in the southwest Pacific. Think what you will about my opinions, but I submit that my writings have been honest.

At least a few skeptics have ridiculed my strange “hobby,” including my self-appointed expedition to a remote island in Papua New Guinea. There I searched the jungle for a giant pterosaur that had reportedly evaded becoming fossilized.

By the way, don’t follow in my footsteps, refinancing your house to fund a quest to find a giant monster in a remote tropical wilderness. Go on such an expedition if you will, but remember my warning: You could be torn to pieces, trying to carry your luggage to the front door (past your spouse).

I did return home to the United States, in October of 2014, fortunately still in one piece. I told family, friends, and associates the truth about my endeavor: I never saw anything like a living pterosaur on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea. Nobody was surprised.

I was surprised at a new web site that popped up after my return, yet not amused at the words in the URL: stupid-dinosaur-lies. I also noticed one sentence that described my expedition, a sentence with five factual errors. Misspelling both my first and last names was just the beginning. The skeptic said that I had been sponsored by Carl Baugh (NOT) and had led a group of creationists on my expedition (NOT), which expedition was in Africa (NOT). All that in one sentence.

Perhaps careless writers can sometimes make five mistakes in one sentence, among all the reputable publications in human history, but that was not the point. It was the accusation of lies. The publisher of that new site was upset with those who proclaimed that pterosaurs can still live in remote jungles; yet that did not force him to make that accusation.

What could have been more strange than my expedition in Papua New Guinea? It was in the accusation of lies, from a skeptic who ridiculed the idea that any pterosaur could still be alive. I came back from an expedition in which I admitted that I had seen nothing like a pterosaur and that skeptic accused me of dishonesty.

But that online publication with “stupid-dinosaur-lies” was years ago; what about last month? After the renowned paleontologist had written many paragraphs about my “deceptions” in my many online publications, he said, “So beware of citing stuff off the internet.” That sounds like wise counsel. But in a comment below his post, that professor listed an internet site that he said was “even more detailed and scathing” than his own post. He cited the source with the URL words of stupid-dinosaur-lies. Yes that same old site.

I suggest this: Beware of the paleontologist who would rather accuse somebody of dishonesty than write about an old fossil . . . I mean an old fossil of a dinosaur.