A Guide to Sky Monsters LitHub article

A Guide to Sky Monsters featured in LitHub

The Truth is Out There: On the Wild and Divisive World of Cryptozoology | LitHub | Featuring A Guide to Sky Monsters by T.S. Mart and Mel Cabre | May 6, 2021

What is a Ropen?

For years, reports of living pterosaurs have come out of Papua New Guinea and its surrounding islands. Of particular interest is a creature said to live on Umboi Island which is just off the mainland coast. Locals have reported sightings of a creature they call Duwas or Ropen. With a wingspan said to be up to 29 feet, the dark-gray flyer possesses two leathery, bat-like wings and a long tail with a diamond-shape on the end. Also noted is a head crest and dermal bump, a tooth-filled beak, and razor-sharp claws.

Cryptozoologists believe the Ropen emerged from either the Dimorph­odon or Rhamphorhynchus lineages. Dimorphodons were only about three feet long with a wingspan nearing five feet. They were named for having two distinct types of teeth in their skull. The tail of Dimorphodon was long, with 30 vertebrae of varying lengths, and may or may not have had a widened tail tip like that found on Rhamphorhynchus. No impressions of one have been found to date. Rhamphorhynchus was slightly smaller than Dimorphodon and had a long, narrow skull and teeth that pointed forward. Fossils impressions of Rhamphorhynchus‘s long tail show it clearly ended in a diamond-shaped tip.

The Ropen is far larger than either of these extinct pterosaurs. It is thought to be nocturnal and give off a bioluminescent glow. As reported on Paul Nation’s Indava Bird Project website, locals call the light Indava, which means, “Bird that flies at night and brings death.”

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