The following is a description of the Paluxy River "man track" scene,
as compiled by Ron Hastings. This is a reprint of the text
distributed to participants of the Paluxy River tour hosted by CSICOP
during the conference last October.
This material may be freely distributed to those interested in the
creationist's phoney "man track" claims. No commercial use should be
made without permission of Ron Hastings.
| John Blanton |
| Secretary, North Texas Skeptics |
| firstname.lastname@example.org |
According to the standard geologic timetable, humans did not appear on
earth until approximately 60 million years after dinosaurs became
extinct. Nevertheless, for many years claims were made by some strict
creationists, and continue to be encouraged by a few individuals, that
fossil human footprints or "giant man tracks" occur alongside dinosaur
tracks in the Paluxy riverbed near Glen Rose, Texas.
Extraordinary claims such as these demand extraordinary evidence, but
no such evidence seems to exist. Initial critical work in the early
1970's [l] and more intensive scientific studies of these claims in
recent years have convincingly refuted the human track claims and led
to their abandonment, even by most creationists. Most of the alleged
human tracks occur outside Dinosaur Valley State Park, and involve a
variety of phenomena, including indistinct longer-than-usual
(elongate) dinosaur tracks, erosional features, and a few carvings.
State Park Ledge
Only one former "man track" site occurs within the park and consists
of erosional features on the surface of a shelf of rock above the main
dinosaur track level. Situated across the river from the northwest
parking lot, this ledge supposedly contained a variety of "man tracks"
that were first publicized by Rev. Stanley Taylor and crew in the late
1960's and later advocated by other "man track" enthusiasts.
Careful analysis of the ledge indicates that the "tracks" are merely
natural irregularities and erosional features of the weathered
surface. Many past "man track" advocates had applied water, oil, or
other substances to the markings to encourage the appearance of human
print shapes; without this selective artificial highlighting none of
the rather oval scoured marks shows clear human features. No
regularly paced trail of marks can be found anywhere on the ledge! An
alleged "bear track" on the ledge is a similar phenomenon. In fact, no
true tracks appear on this ledge.
The Taylor Site
Located in the riverbed upstream from the park is probably the most
publicized "man track" locale (though seldom visited due to frequent
inaccessibility) -- the Taylor Site. This site was most often claimed
to contain human tracks, beginning with Stanley Taylor's research and
film in the late 1960's and early 1970's  and continuing with other
claims throughout the 1970's and 1980's . The most thorough
analyses of this site indicate that the "human" tracks are elongate
dinosaur tracks -- made by bipedal dinosaurs that walked down on their
soles and heels rather than up on their toes, as is most often the
case. When the toe marks of such tracks are obscured by erosion,
sediment infilling, or mud-collapse, they often resemble poorly
preserved giant human prints. But even the measured dimensions of
these tracks and the trails (stride, pace, etc.), are not compatible
with human anatomy (giant or otherwise) but are compatible with other
dinosaur trails. Color and texture distinctions reveal indisputable
dinosaur toes on these tracks, and these features are related to
secondary infillings of the original track depressions. Recent
claims by Rev. Carl Baugh and Don Patton that same of these tracks
have human prints within them have been shown to be invalid.
The Baugh/McFall Sites
Still further upstream from the Taylor Site and on the riverbank is a
series of exposed ledges known as the Baugh/McFall Sites. In the late
1960's and 1970's one trail on one ledge was considered human by some
workers , but later acknowledged by other creationists to consist
of eroded, elongate dinosaur tracks. Since 1982 several other
sites along this series have been excavated by Rev. Carl Baugh and
associates, who claimed many other "man tracks" there. However,
rigorous studies have failed to support such claims. The alleged human
tracks on these sites involve several phenomena, including elongate
dinosaur tracks and parts thereof; indistinct elongate marks of
unknown origin that were not in striding trails; shallow, vague
markings in the exposed rock surface or unremoved overlying marl;
invertebrate trace fossil patterns; and some markings with evidence of
deliberate alteration. Many of these phenomena along the
Baugh/McFall Site have been lost to weathering and neglect.
Alleged Human and Cat Tracks in Loose Rocks
Some loose blocks of rock with human or cat-like prints, reputed to
have come from Glen Rose limestone, first appeared during the late
1930's. These tracks were promoted as genuine by some
creationists. However, obvious anatomic problems with the prints,
knowledge of past carving practices in the Glen Rose area, and
problematic cross-sectional features of the blocks, some of which were
recently exposed by Carl Baugh and Don Patton, lead most researchers
to reject their authenticity.
Other Loose Fossils and Artifacts of "Man-Track" Enthusiasts
Among the objects claimed by a few to represent "out-of-order" fossils
is an alleged fossil "human tooth"' found along the Paluxy in 1987 by
Carl Baugh. This tooth has been conclusively shown to be a fish tooth,
a fact Baugh and Patton resisted until 1989.
A trilobite fossil was reportedly found decades ago in the Paluxy, but
was not documented as being part of the riverbed. (A trilobite fossil
linked to Glen Rose limestone would be out-of-order, for trilobites
did not survive into the Age of Dinosaurs, the Mesozoic Era.) The
fossil tests to be from another, older kind of rock than Glen Rose
limestone, and so cannot be linked reliably to the riverbed
A hammer-in-stone reportedly from a Paleozoic formation near London,
Texas, and claimed by Baugh to be the same age as the rock in which
the tool is encased, is a concretion around a mining mallet. Such
concretions can build up in decades around objects unrelated to the
age of the host rock.[I7]
Other artifacts have also been claimed by some to be "out-of-order"
fossils (such as the "Moab Man" bones found in Utah but brought to
Texas by Baugh) but they also are not supported by the evidence.
In summary, although genuine dinosaur tracks are abundant in the
Paluxy riverbed, claims of human tracks have not withstood close
scientific scrutiny, and in recent years have been largely abandoned,
even by most creationists. The alleged "man tracks" involve a variety
of spurious phenomena, including erosional features, elongate dinosaur
prints, ambiguous markings, misinterpreted trace fossils, and a few
(Note: Many sites outside Dinosaur Valley State Park are on or
alongside private property. Permission should be secured from the
respective land owners before visiting such sites. Also, no
excavation, damming, or other disturbance in the Paluxy riverbed
beyond light sweeping or brushing to clean tracks may be conducted
anywhere in the Paluxy riverbed without written permission Of the
appropriate authorities, including the Department of Parks and
Wildlife, and, inside Dinosaur Valley State Park, the park
 Neufeld, Berney, 1975, "Dinosaur Tracks and Giant Men,"
Origins, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp 64-76.
 Beierle, Fred, 1977, Man, Dinosaurs, and History, Prosser,
WA: Perfect Printing Co.; Dougherty, Cecil N., 1979 (sixth
edition), Valley of the Giants, Bennett Printing Company,
Cleburne, TX; see also ref. 10. Numerous other publications
during the 1970's and 1980's also promoted "man track" claims.
 Farlow, James O., 1987, Lower Cretaceous Dinosaur Tracks,
Paluxy River Valley, Texas, SCGSA, Waco, TX. See also ref. 6
 Taylor, Stanley E., 1973, Footprints in Stone, (film),
Films for Christ Association (Eden Films), Elmwood IL (now Mesa,
 See ref. 1.
 Kuban, Glen, 1986a, "The Taylor Site 'Man Tracks,'"
Origins, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp 1-9; Kuban, Glen, 1986b, "Elongate
Dinosaur Tracks," in Gillette, David D. and Lockley, Martin G.,
eds., Dinosaur Tracks and Traces, 1989, Cambridge University
Press Cambridge, pp 57-72; Hastings, Ronnie J., 1988, "The Rise
and Fall of the Paluxy Mantracks," Perspectives on Science and
Christian Faith (Journal of the American Scientific
Affiliation), Vol. 40, No. 3, pp 144-155.
 Kuban, Glen, 1986c, "Color Distinctions and Other Curious
Features of Dinosaur Tracks Near Glen Rose, Texas," in Gillette,
David D. and Lockley, Martin G., eds. Dinosaur Tracks and
Traces, 1989, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 427-440;
Hastings, Ronnie J., 1987, "New Observations on Paluxy Tracks
Confirm Their Dinosaurian Origin," Journal of Geological
Education, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp 4-15.
 Kuban, Glen J., 1989, "Retracking Those Incredible Man
Tracks," NCSE Reports, Vol . 9, No. 4, Special Sect ion.
 Taylor, Stanley E., 1968, Search for Man Tracks in the
Paluxy River, Films for Christ Special Report, October; Taylor,
Stanley E., 1971, "The Mystery Tracks in Dinosaur Valley," Bible
Science Newsletter, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp 1-7.
 Morris, John D., 1980, Tracking Those Incredible
Dinosaurs, San Diego, CA, Creation-Life Publishers, pp 134-136,
 Baugh, Carl E., 1982, Enemies Survived Together for A
While, (videotape), Creation Evidences Museum, Glen Rose, TX;
Baugh, Carl, 1987, Dinosaur, Promise Publishing, Orange, CA.
Baugh's claims are also repeated in newsletters and tapes
distributed by his Creation Evidences Museum.
 Cole, John R., and Godfrey, Laurie R., eds., 1985,
Creation/Evolution, Issue XV, Vol. 5, No. I , pp 16-21.
 Burdick, Clifford C., "When Giants Roamed the Earth,"
Signs of the Times, July 25, 1950; Morris, Henry M. and
Whitcomb, John C., 1961, The Genesis Flood, Baker Book House,
Grand Rapids, MI, pp 173-175.
 See ref. 1 and 12.
 Hastings, Ronnie J-p 1987, "Creationists' 'Glen Rose Man'
Proves to be a Fish Tooth (as Expected)," NCSE Reports, Vol- 9s
No. 3, pp 14-15.
 Hastings, Ronnie J., 1986, "Tracking Those Incredible
Creationists: The Trail Continues," Creation/Evolution, Issue
XVII, pp 19-27; Hastings, Ronnie J., 1987, "Tracking Those
Incredible Creationists: The Trail Goes On," Creation/Evolution,
Issue XXI, pp 30-42.
 Cole, John R., 1985, "If I Had a Hammer,"
Creation/Evolution, Issue XV, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp 46-47.