To: Dr Pepper 930516 22:32:00 Subject: +quot;Mantracks+quot; DR PEPPER to ALL, 051293, re:
From: Scott Faust
To: Dr Pepper 93-05-16 22:32:00
DR PEPPER to ALL, 05-12-93, re: "Wilder-Smith"
> The last two days the radio show "The Bible Answer Man" has feature
> one A. E. Wilder-Smith. [...]
> WS [...] still promotes Paluxy. A caller on the show [...] tried to
> tell his father about Paluxy and his father had said he had friends
> who had gone there and taken ir photos of the prints, and the claws
> were clearly visible. [...]
> WS responded that just recently the tracks had shown changes, a result
> of iron in the rock changing state from ferrous to ferric. In situ?
> Wow! Anyway he said that that yes, claw marks were now showing, but
> what do you expect? Clearly the best way for a human to cross a muddy
> marsh was to step in the dinosaur prints so the human prints would be
> superimposed. And there was plenty of analysis done that clearly
> distinguished between the human and dinosaur prints, including showing
> all five toes.
> Anyone know anything bout this person?
I know that his claims about the Paluxy are bovine excrement.
Although its been several years now since I have bothered to go
back, I've visited the Paluxy sites many times (its about a 2 hour
drive from where I live, in Denton, Tx, north of Dallas and Fort
The tracks that were being referred to in your radio show were
clearly those of the Taylor Trail, which is actually in the stream
bed and can only be exposed for close study by sandbagging or
during a drought. I had the good fortune to visit the site several
times in the company of Ronnie Hastings and Glen Kuban during a
drought in 1988 when the stream bed ran completely dry at the site.
Hastings and Kuban are both amateurs, but have done quality work on
the dinosaurs trackways of the Paluxy. They eventually convinced
most informed creationists that none of them can be positively
identified as human. Hastings is a math and physics teacher from
Waxahachie, Texas who got tired of hearing about Paluxy "mantrack"
claims from Mel and Norma Gabler and other anti-evolutionists, and
decided (about 1982, I believe) to go down and have a look for
himself. Kuban is a computer programmer from Ohio. Kuban is
actually an evangelical christian, and first went down to the
Paluxy about 1980 hoping to verify that human tracks were present!
Kuban's examination of the tracks and trackways described in the
creationist literature he had read soon convinced him, however,
that the tracks were dinosaurian. The tracks of the Taylor Trail,
though, were of an unusual type. In contrast to the typical short
and wide birdlike tridactyle prints, these were elongate and
vaguely oblong (and thus their identification as those of "giant"
humans). Kuban hypothesized that the dinosaur that made them had
been walking plantigrade (flat footed), such that the heels of the
prints were made by the dinosaur's metatarsals. Dinosaurs normally
walk digitigrade, with only the "balls" of their feet and toes in
contact with the ground.
By 1984, when there was another drought, Kuban had introduced
himself to Hastings and the two were working together. When the
Taylor Trail was exposed that year a coloration phenomena was first
noticed. The dinosaur that made the trail was walking upstream,
and the erosion and spalling of the tracks' infilling material had
apparently been greater toward their posterior. Repeated exposure
was apparently causing a change in the color of the remaining
infilling material (possibly due, indeed, to a higher iron content,
though I am not up on the geochemistry) such that the "giant human"
prints were now sprouting clear, tridactyle, dinosaurian toes.
This phenomena has apparently continued, and the reddish brown
infilling stood out very clearly and sharply against the white
dolomitic limestone when I saw the site exposed in 1988.
Kuban tried to get prominent creationists who had touted the
mantrack claims to view the site while it was still dry, but did
not succeed. A year or two later, however, (I don't recall exactly
when) he was able to get John Morris, whose book _Tracking Those
Incredible Dinosaurs and the People Who Knew Them_ was the source
that originally inspired Kuban to go to the Paluxy, and Paul Taylor
of "Films for Christ", who discovered the trial and featured it his
film _Footprints In Stone_, to visit the site.
The tracks were viewed through the bottom of an empty aquarium
pressed into the water. Kuban then spent several hours in a nearby
hotel room with the mantrackers -- the "heathen" Hastings having
discretely absented himself -- answering their objections one by
one (and doubtless over and over), showing them photographs and
other evidence he had collected, and repeatedly forcing them to
confront the evidence they had seen. It took a lot more effort
than should have been required, but eventually Morris and Taylor
would retract their claims (for the most part, and not without some
fussing and backsliding particularly from Morris) and agree to
withdraw the book and movie.
At one point, in fact in his "retraction", Morris darkly hinted
that evolutionists might have painted the colorations onto the
tracks with acid. This was refuted, however, by the fact that it
was clearly not possible to paint sharp edged features onto the
limestone in this manner, and by cores taken at the margins of the
colorations and inside the tracks showing that the coloration was a
phenomena of track infilling material. (Morris let these claims
drop after taking core samples, but never to my knowledge
explicitly retracted them or said publicly what he had seen in his
O.K. With all that background we now coming, in a moment, to the
claim that your Wilder-Smith was repeating, a "reinterpretation" of
the Taylor Trail. Associated with the new claim are Texas
creationists Carl Baugh and his associate Don Patton.
Carl Baugh owns and operates the "Creation Evidences Museum" near
the Paluxy River. "Dr." Baugh is a particularly unctuous charlatan
who is always waving a batch of diploma mill degrees. (Kuban, Glen
J. 1989. "A Matter of Degree: Carl Baugh's Credentials." _National
Center for Science Education Reports_. 9(6):15-20.)
Baugh is also a boob who is known for making rather, ah, eccentric
claims. Just as one quick example among many: a neural spine in
his museum which looks to have come from a large fish is
identified as the horn of a dinosaur that Baugh has named
"unicerisaurus" (or something like that, i.e., after "unicorn").
Baugh interprets the surface where the base of the spine sits on
top of the vertebral column as indicating a joint that allowed his
dinosaur to fold this horn into the back of its head like a
Don Patton (not to be confused with the velikovskyite creationist
Donald W. Patton) founded a Dallas/Fort Worth area group called the
Metroplex Institute for Origin Science (MIOS) which has supported
and promoted Baugh's "research" and claims.
Patton seems to share Baugh's penchant for adding dubious letters
to the end of his name. When Patton appeared at the 1989 National
Conference on Biblical Origins in Dayton, TN to present the new
Taylor Trail claim, the printed program implied that he had at
least four degrees from three different schools. Patton made no
attempt to correct this "mistake" publicly, but admitted to Kuban
that he has -no- degrees, though he claims to have taken many
undergraduate courses in geology.
I haven't kept up with MIOS for several years, but for a long time
he allowed its members and others to believe that he had a Ph.D.
candidacy in geology from Queensland Christian University in
Australia. This school, however, is a diploma mill owned by the
Australian creationist Clifford Wilson. (See Kuban's article on
Baugh and Patton now concede that the tracks of the Taylor Trail
are dinosaurian, but have claimed since late 1988 that there are
human tracks -inside- the dinosaur tracks. They suggested the
theory that Wilder-Smith repeats -- that the human was purposefully
stepping inside the dinosaurs tracks to improve his traction in a
slippery mud. This is patently absurd. If you are on a slippery
surface you must take very small steps to keep from slipping. You
certainly don't take dinosaur sized strides!
Furthermore, there are no accentuated heel strikes to indicate such
behaviour. Indeed there is little or nothing besides legerdemain
and wishful thinking to indicate the presence of these supposed
human tracks. Kuban writes the following in an article refuting
the claim. (Kuban, Glen J. 1989. "Retracking Those Incredible
Mantracks." _NCSE Reports_. 9(4):
Having intensively studied the Taylor Site since 1980 (and as
recently as August 1989), I can testify that none of the Taylor
Trail tracks (or other tracks on the site) contain clear human
features [...] In fact, the new "man track" claims are not
really new, but are simply variations on the old, thoroughly
refuted claims. What Baugh and Patton are now claiming as human
prints are merely vague or ambiguous features within the largely
infilled metatarsal segments (soles and heels) of the dinosaur
prints -- essentially the same depressions previously
misinterpreted by various creationists as human prints.
It should also be emphasized, as Kuban notes in passing above, that
the Taylor Site tracks are still partially infilled, and not
just in the region of the toes (where most of them are still
completely infilled). In Other Words, the supposed human prints
are not in the bottom of the dinosaurs prints, but are -in- the
infilling material. How these tracks were able to form without
a difference in composition between the substrate and the infilling
material is a mystery that Baugh and Patton don't seem to address.
Kuban describes it in his article, but I was also at the 1989
creationist convention in Dayton, Tennessee to hear Patton's
presentation on this claim. It seemed to me that it come off
poorly even to this creationist audience. Some of the most
impressive -seeming- evidence that Patton offered was a series of
photographs of the tracks with what looked like topographic lines
imposed on them. Patton showed how these indicated the outlines of
the alleged human prints. But only under determined questioning
did it come out that the "topographic" lines were drawn -freehand-
by an artist friend from -two dimensional- projections of the
There were also attempts to revive this "new" Taylor Trail claim at
one or two other creationism conferences, but they seem to have
fallen flat also.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank