A press release (August 04, 2009, News Blaze) is titled “Reports of Living Pterosaurs in U.S. Fail Explanation as Hoaxes,” leaving doubt as to what the title means. The body of the article itself, however, leaves no doubt: Hoax-explanations fail, but the credibility of the eyewitnesses does not fail.
The author explains how three separate factors contradict the ridicule of skeptics who insinuate hoaxes as the source of living-pterosaur reports. Those factors were the percentage of moderate wingspans, details about featherless appearance, and tail length. According to the author, “Hoaxes are disproved” as any significant explanation for the many reports of the eyewitness sightings in the United States.
What the author left out, however, are the reports from Papua New Guinea. With very few exceptions, those eyewitness accounts also seem unlikely to have originiated from hoaxes. Natives describe what they saw, almost never mentioning any superstitious elements to the interviewers.
One exception makes clear the difference. One islander (from the Opai-Gomlongon area of Umboi Island), who needed money badly (according to a village leader), watched an American visitor interview eyewitnesses in Opai Village. He knew that the American had money; but he did not know that the cryptozoologist never paid anyone for any interview. The poor villager eventually spoke up and described a human-like creature with feathers, flying just above the ground; almost everything about the description was contrary to what others had said about the ropen (but it was consistant with at least some of the superstitions). But that was an exception; most native eyewitnesses are credible.