PureInsight | January 3, 2001
Muddy footprints across the face of time
Probably the most publicized mantracks are those found along the Paluxy river, near Glen Rose, Texas. They were first observed in 1908, after a flood washed away a portion of shore ledging, exposing geologic levels of the Glen Rose Formation, the Paluxy Formation, and the Twin Mountain Formation of the Trinity Group - all dated to the early Cretaceous, between 120 and 130 million years. Interestingly, these same rock types occur at Bandera, not far from San Antonio, and there, too, human prints have been uncovered and documented. On the Paluxy, serious research into the mystery of the fossil prints did not begin until 1938, when Roland T. Bird, of the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, removed a trail of brontosaurus tracks that were alongside a series of what his eyes beheld with the 'official' position, but admitted in the May, 1939 issue of Natural History: 'No man ever existed in the age of reptiles although the tracks are perfect in every detail.' Bird could only conclude that the prints he saw were those of some 'extinct ape' - but this explanation was most unsatisfactory, since according to evolutionary theory, apes were not to appear for another 100 million years after the epoch of the brontosaurus.
The Paluxy site became a tourist attraction, and during the Depression, locals began excavating both dinosaur and man prints, and selling them for souvenirs. Some of the specimens sold were really hand-carved by the more unscrupulous opportunists, and unfortunately in later years, conservative scholars were quick to point to these few examples of fakery as the answer to all the tracks discovered. But on-the-spot diggings by geologists and paleontologists have uncovered many new prints found in situ that could not have been hoaxes, for they were discovered deep within the rock layers, and at times several feet back into the Paluxy banks, where no fabrication could possibly be made.
The sum total of finds along the Paluxy reveal quite a mixture of man and animal types having lived all at the same time. There are heavy brontosaur tracks, the talon marks of the feared Tyrannosaurus Rex, three-toed spoors of other dinosaurs - and the imprint of a saber-tooth tiger, which was supposed to have lived only a few million years ago, not in the era of the giant lizards. As for the human prints, many are found in series, popping out of the Paluxy banks in a very natural stride, then wading into the river bed. A good number of the prints are bare, with the large toe in particular clearly distinguishable; others show signs of the maker's feet having worn some form of foot covering, like a moccasin or thin sandal. in one instance, in fact, the fossil print is so well preserved that the impression of the lacing on the moccasin is still visible. Some human tracks are of men of modern stature, with shoe sizes from 7 to 13; others are of children, whose prints are both proportionally smaller and shallower. Several more, however, are 1 6-inches, with not a few of men with 21 and 1/2-inch feet and a 7-foot stride - giants in the true sense of the word.
The most remarkable fact of all, however, is that these prints are in the same layer as dinosaur tracks, and in a few instances, the human and dinosaur prints cross each other, showing that the two had been contemporary when the rock had been mud. The significance of these examples was noted by Dr. A.E. Wilder Smith of the University of Illinois: 'One authentic man-track found in the same stratum as one authentic brontosaurus track throws out one hundred years of evolutionary teachings. It is sufficient to bring the whole Darwinistic theory down and revolutionize all biology today.'
But the out-of-place footprints go back even further in geologic time. The American Anthropologist, volume IX (1896), page 66, describes the finding of a perfect human imprint in stone about 4 miles north of Parkersburg, on the West Virginia side of the Ohio river. The track was 14 1/2 inches long, and was found embedded in a large stone. Though few specifics were given, one expert has calculated from the type of rock depicted, and its position on the river's edge, that the track must be at least 150 million years old, according to modern geologic dating.
In the late 1970's, Dr. Rex Gilroy, director of the Mount York Natural History Museum of Australia, discovered a giant impress on Mount Victoria. One tentative estimate puts the track at 200 million years of age.
One of the most remarkable tracks was found in Fisher Canyon, Pershing County, Nevada. On January 25, 1927, an amateur geologist named Albert E. Knapp was descending a small hill in the canyon, when he spotted the fossil laying topside up among a pile of loose rocks. He picked up the find, and took it home with him. Upon closer examination, Knapp was astounded to discover, 'it is a layer from the heel of a shoe which had been pulled up from the balance of the heel by suction, the rock being in a plastic state at the time.' The shoe print was in a marvelous state of preservation - the edges of the heel were smooth and rounded off as if cut, and its right side appeared more worn than the left - suggesting it had been worn on the right foot. But what Knapp found really amazing was that the rock in which the heel mark was made, was Triassic limestone - 225 million years old - which runs in a belt through the canyon hills he had been exploring. The rock was later examined by an expert geologist at the Rockefeller Foundation, who confirmed Knapp's analysis. The presence of minute crystals of sulphide of mercury throughout spaces in the fossil also testified to it being of great antiquity.
The real surprise about the age-old heel imprint, however, did not come until micro-photographs revealed that the leather had been stitched by a double row of stitches, the twists of the threads is very discernable. One line followed along the heel's outer edge, and the second line paralleled the first precisely, inwards by one-third of an inch. What baffled investigators was the fact that this double-stitching had been done with thread much smaller, and more refined in workmanship, than that used by shoe-makers in 1927, when the fossil print was discovered. As Mr. Samuel Hubbard, Honorary Curator of Archaeology of the Oakland Museum in California, commented: 'There are whole races of primitive men on earth today, utterly incapable of sewing that moccasin. What becomes of the Darwinian theory in the face of this evidence that there were intelligent men on earth millions of years before apes were supposed to have evolved?'