The location where the so called "human" and dinosaur footprints occur
together is Paluxy Creek in Texas.
Following are extracts from a letter in Scientific American, June, 1983.
from Wm. Stansfield, Biological Sciences Department, Cal. Polytechnic State
"Creationists would like to demonstrate that certain fossils are in the
wrong order...one of their prime pieces of 'evidence' in this regard has
been the alleged existence of human footprints and the tracks of dinosaurs
side by side ...[at the] Paluxy River near Glen Rose, Texas.
"Some of the dinosaur footprints were of such poor quality and/or so exten-
sively eroded that they could be mistaken by lay people for 'giant man
prints.' Some of these 'man prints' have distinct claw marks protruding
from what creationists call their 'heel.' Wann Langston, Jr., a Texas
paleontologist, noted that these so-called human footprints have their instep
along the outside edge rather than in the middle.
"Some ten years ago a film titled 'Footprints in Stone' was made about the
Paluxy River tracks by Films for Christ Assoc. of Elmwood. Ill...the film-
makers decided to highlight the less obvious features such as 'toes' and
'sides'...Laurie R. Godfrey, a physical anthropologist at the University
of Massachusetts at Amherst, has shown that the 'man prints' all but dis-
appear when the superimposed images are eliminated. She observes that in
other frames the 'man print' was only a part of a larger depression, or that
the shellac seemed to connect erosional depressions...
"According to Fredrick Edwords (sic?), editor of the journal _Creation/Evol-
ution_, 'Last summer Dr. Godfrey led a research team to the site and dis-
covered that the alleged human trackway showed no consistancy. Many of the
creationists' 'best' trackways featured irregular stride lengths and
'prints' that changed size and even direction with every step...Geologist
Steven Schafersman discovered that worm burrows were largely responsible
for the 'toes' on some of the prints...'"
(And another article, this one reprinted w/o permission from the
_Skeptical Inquirer_, Summer 1986)
A terrible thing is starting to happen to those fossilized
"human footprints," the ones supposedly found mingling with
dinosaur tracks along the banks of the Paluxy River in Texas.
John D. Morris, head of the Institute for Creation Research
(ICR), reports in the January 1986 issue of his publication
*Impact* that "due to an unknown cause, certain of the prints
once labelled human are taking on a completely different
character." The most significant change is that "in almost
each of the prints in the trail, three large "toes" have
appeared, similar to nearby dinosaur tracks. He supplies an
illustration contrasting the original appearance of the prints
(perfectly human) with how they look now: very much like
Skeptics may wonder why this "unknown cause" started acting up
just recently, since the supposedly human footprints seemed to
have been unchanged in the more than four thousand years since
the Flood in which all the dinosaurs drowned. If this
"unknown cause" doesn't stop soon, people may conclude what
Morris and his colleagues have been calling "human footprints"
were nothing but dinosaur tracks all along. Morris all but
admits this, concluding that "it would now be improper for
creationists to continue to use the Paluxy data as evidence
ICR has since retracted their claim that the "footprints" are real.
>I've seen other riverbeds in other states and countries cited as well,
>which is one of the classic markers of urban folklore.
>Can anyone shed some light on this?
This is one even the creationists were eventually embarassed about.
Some, such as Walter Brown, have even taken it to the other extreme
and declared that they never claimed such a thing (creationists
apparently can never resist another lie). Unfortunately for him,
there were tapes of a local Ontario TV show in which he said the
Paluxy River tracks were excellent evidence for creationism.
And, while the creationists have officially disclaimed it now, that
doesn't prevent them from still using it when they don't think they're
going to get called on it, or keeping it in their literature.
A special on Nova showed the tracks to everyone - the "human" tracks
had three toes and the uneroded tracks showed webbing.
Here's what Dr. James Kennedy had to say on the James Ankerberg show
in the fall of 1987. The taped episodes of this show, in which Dr.
Kennedy spews his unending bull completely unopposed, are distributed
by the Ankerberg ministry:
"What you alluded to was a discovery in the Paluxy River near Glen
Rose, Texas. I saw a movie they made about it [ Probably "Footprints
in Stone ". They found what looked like chicken tracks at first, but
then you could see they were much bigger - they were Tyrannosaurus
tracks. And there were these human tracks that were in this
rock. Now at one time this rock was mud when these people and
creatures were walking in it - clear human tracks, clear dinosaur
tracks. At once place one of these men... by the way, there were two
kinds of human tracks. There were normal tracks about our size and
there were giant tracks. They estimated that the person was about
nine and a half feet tall that had these particular tracks. He had a
six-foot stride when he was walking in mud. Then he sort of got up on
his toes and started running. He had a nine-foot stride. Now that
was a big man! And at one point this dinosaur track comes right on
top of this human track. You get an idea of perhaps what he was
running from! And you have those tracks in another place... and
they're looking into them very carefully and they're going to do some
very careful work on the other footprints that are there. And I think
if they can actually convince the scientific community, it's going to
throw their whole chronology into a cocked hat."
Okay, as you've guessed, Kennedy is full of shit here. The Paluxy
River tracks were one of the most popular of creationist claims.
However, Milne and Schafersman refuted it in 1983, Cole and Godfrey
did so in 1985, and Godfrey and Cole again in 1986. (Keep in mind
that Kennedy is claiming this in late 1987). First, the Paluxy
tracks which are from the Lower Cretaceous, are not even
Tyrannosaurus. T. Rex is found only in the Upper Cretaceous.
Apparently it was the only dinosaur Kennedy could think of at the
time. Some of the alleged human tracks have claw marks and webbing,
and the tracks have sizes, shapes, paces, and strides which are
completely characteristic of dinosaur tracks. The tracks are too
narrow for human feet. Other alleged human tracks are fake carvings.
They don't show any of the features you'd expect from a human print,
and they have mysteriously changed in the past few years, after
supposedly being unchanged for millions of years... Others had been
artificially darkened to make them appear more human.
Changes of coloring around some of the tracks made the dinosaur nature
of the tracks so conclusive that even Henry Morris, one of ICR's liars
surpreme, write in creationist journal "Impact" number 151 that
"The 'Impact' article in this issue is different from our usual feature
[no kidding, a creationist admission of error is almost unheard of], in
that it raises questions about the well-known association of fossil
human and dinosaur tracks in central Texas. Although the evidence is
inconclusive, it must be recognized that a number of fossil tracks
formerly regarded as probably mantracks now seem to show features which
are best interpreted in terms of some unidentified two-legged reptile
[it's called a dinosaur, Hank] or other animal. Further studies are
under way, but creationists should not, at least for the present, cite
these particular footprints as evidence against evolution."
The whole affair gives the creationist movement in a nutshell. A
previously unheard of nine-foot species of man with two narrow feet is
the "obvious" explaination. Fakery in the film, which was then widely
circulated. Numerous scientific findings regarding the prints from
1981 to 1986 completely ignored, no interest in newly appeared color
distinctions, and retreating from the claim only when they looked like
complete fools. Kennedy's promotion of the Paluxy fraud over a year
after all the evidence received wide coverage, and over half a year
after Morris's letter just continues the tradition.
Although it is rather unique that they admit in print that they are
If you want to look into it yourself, the following articles are informative:
Godfrey, Laurie and Cole, John (1986), "Blunder in Their Footsteps,"
Natural History 95, 4-12
Hastings, Ronnie (1985) "Tracking Those Incredible Creationists,"
Creation/Evolution No. 15, 16-36
Hastings, Ronnie (1986) "Tracking Those Incredible Creationists - The
Trail Continues," Creation/Evolution No. 17, 19-27
Hastings, Ronnie (1985) "New Observations on Paluxy Tracks Confirm
Their Dinosaurian Origin," Journal of Geological Ed. 35, 4-15
Hastings, Ronnie (1987b) "Tracking Those Incredible Creationists - The
Trail Goes On," Creation/Evolution No. 21, 30-42
Milne, David H. and Schafersman, Steven D. (1983) "Dinosaur Tracks,
Erosion Marks and Midnight Chisel Work (But No Human Footprints)
in the Cretacious Limestone of the Paluxy River Bed, Texas,"
Journal of Geological Ed. 31, 111-123
The titles of some of them might give some insight as to how
scientists viewed the creationists in this instance, after a while.
Rather stupid and malicious idiots.