Posts Tagged ‘bats’

Are Marfa Lights Glowing Predators?

December 30th, 2010

The famous Marfa Lights of southwest Texas have received recent attention from the Houston Chronicle, one of the largest newspapers in the United States and the largest in Texas. The original idea for the article by Claudia Feldman came from a press release promoting a new nonfiction book on cryptozoology, but the staff writer seems to have gotten carried away in dismissing any notion that “dinosaurs” are still flying over a remote area of Texas.

The original press release, “Unmasking a Flying Predator in Texas,” by Jonathan Whitcomb, gives an overview of the Marfa Lights, explaining why the local human residents have called them “dancing devils” and “ghosts.”

Now a cryptozoologist from California has explained the dancing lights of Marfa. Tales of spooks may hold a spark of truth, for recent research implies intelligence directs the lights: Bioluminescent flying predators may be hunting at night and catching a few unlucky Big Brown Bats: Eptesicus fuscus.

. . . Although Whitcomb admits that Marfa Lights may come from an unknown bioluminescent bird or bat, he says, “It is more likely than not from a creature similar to the ropen of Papua New Guinea, and my associates and I are sure about the ropen: It is a pterosaur.”

The Houston Chronicle staff writer chose to use the word “dinosaurs,” dismissing the hypothesis of Whitcomb:

While Whitcomb has been effective in broadcasting his views, he acknowledges that he has no scientific training, has never been to Marfa and has not seen the creatures whose patterns and habits he attempts to describe. He did make a trip to Papua New Guinea to investigate flying predators there but saw none.

But the HC staff writer neglected a few critical points, setting herself up for a lengthy response from Whitcomb:

Over the past seven years, I have received emails (from eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs) from various parts of the world: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Europe, Africa, and elsewhere. But most of the reports come from Americans: Many sightings have been in California, Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas, and in other states. More reports come from California and Texas than from any other two states.

Most of those persons appear to be credible, notwithstanding their accounts of seeing incredible flying creatures (one eyewitness is a professional psychologist; one is a scientist, several are plane pilots). A significant portion of the sightings have been in Texas.

The Houston Chronicle staff writer seems to have neglected to mention anything about eyewitness sightings of apparent pterosaurs flying over Texas. The point of¬†Whitcomb’s book, Live Pterosaurs in America, and the press release promoting it is this:¬†Eyewitnesses report these strange flying creatures across the United States, including Texas.