Nobody questions the paleontologist’s expertise in fossils, including the bones of old pterosaurs. But can a cryptozoologist be an expert in eyewitness reports of modern “pterodactyls?” It seems to depend on ones point of view. If no extant species of pterosaurs exists, then no cryptozoologist can be an expert in those nonexistent flying animals; but if at least one species of “pterodactyl” still lives, then the wings of change take over and a whole new world of possibilities alights on our perspective.
About a year ago, an online forum discussion on cryptozoology.com included mostly negative comments about Jonathan Whitcomb, the author of nonfiction books about modern living pterosaurs. This elicited a number of blog posts by the cryptozoologist, including the following:
What most skeptics (if not all) mostly forget or fail to realize is that cryptozoology is neither a branch of zoology or paleontology nor just a label for speculation about mythical animals. It is an approach that often includes examinations of eyewitness testimonies.
Of course, the real issue is the credibility of the eyewitnesses whose reports have been analyzed by Whitcomb. Could sightings have been misidentifications or hoaxes? The appropriateness of the label “pterodactyl expert” is way off the mark for what we need to be asking ourselves. We need to keep examining those eyewitness testimonies.