The Paluxy Mantracks Story

The Paluxy Mantracks Story

The creationist book that jumpstarted the young-earth movement as Henry Morrisʼ, The Genesis Flood, published in the early 1960s. In that book he featured photographs of individual slabs of limestone that contained what looked like a giant human footprint in the middle of each slab. The slabs were allegedly dug up near the Paluxy river in Texas. The Paluxy river region soon became a Mecca (or holy pilgrimage site) for young-earth creationists (though some young-earthers like those at Loma Linda University, had cross-sectioned some of the original limestone slabs and wrote a report early on that said they were just carvings, not genuine human prints). By the mid-1980s the existence of “man tracks” in Paluxy was being questioned even by the two largest and most influential young-earth institutions, The Institute for Creation Research or ICR (that Henry Morris himself had founded), and Answers in Genesis or AiG. Recently, I digitized the color slides of Glen Kuban, who played a major role in convincing ICR that the Paluxy “mantracks” were not human. Glenʼs slides will soon be on the web.

John Morris Of ICR Speaking In 1986 On The Paluxy Data:

It would now be improper for creationists to continue to use the Paluxy data as evidence against evolution, in the light of these questions, there is still much that is not known about the tracks and continued research is in order.” (Jan. 1986)

AiGʼs Recent Comments On The Paluxy “Man Prints”:

Some prominent creationist promoters of these tracks have long since withdrawn their support. Some of the allegedly human tracks may be artefacts of erosion of dinosaur tracks obscuring the claw marks. There is a need for properly documented research on the tracks before we would use them to argue the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs.”

Snelling Of Aig Tried To Keep The Paluxy Data Alive Back In 1986:

“In order to discredit creationists, not long ago the evolutionists argued that many so-called human-like footprints were nothing but erosion marks, carvings, and “midnight chisel marks”. Ironically, these SAME footprints will probably now be claimed to be the footprints of an unknown dinosaur because of some perplexing stains! All of which is a sober reminder — none of us have ever seen dinosaurs make footprints.” (Creation (Ex Nihilo), Andrew Snelling, March, 1986, Vol. 8, No.2, p. 37)

E.T.B.ʼs Comment On Snellingʼs 1986 Remarks:

The “mantrack” discoveries were not all made at once. First, the well-defined carvings were found (being sold during the depression), one print per limestone slab, right in the middle of the slab. Thousands of loose limestone slabs of different sizes line the shores of the Paluxy. Anyone can one pick up and take it home to “work on.” Carl Baugh or Henry Morris or Burdick quoted an old-timer who said they “saw the print right in the rock,” but did they mean they saw such such prints in situ? A later interviewer went back to the same old-timer and asked them where they saw the rock, and the old-timer answered, “It was on the back of so-and-soʼs truck.” There are also confessions by carvers and their kin, how they used a loose limestone slab, a hammer and chisel, and acid on rags, to smooth out the carved human prints they created. The carvings were what the earliest tales of “man tracks” at Paluxy were based on, they also featured the most well-defined “prints” (though featuring amateurish anatomical errors). Several such limestone slabs featuring alleged human prints were purchased by Loma Linda (creationist 7th Day Adventist) University and cross-sectioned and declared to be nothing but carvings by YECs at Loma Linda who wrote a report on their findings and doubts.

But the carvings initiated more YEC interest, and soon some YECʼs visited Paluxy and made the film, “Footprints in Stone,” but for all of their searching and filming they never found any in situ man prints that resembled the carvings, they only found trails of indistinct oblong impressions that they claimed were made by humans and/or giant humans. (They also found isolated wearings in the rocks that were not part of any trail but that they claimed could be viewed as a “print” of a “human” sort.)

Glen Kuban pointed out in Origins Research (a creationist publication begun with ICR seed money), that there were nearby trackways in Paluxy that showed indistinct oblong track impressions, and in those trackways the oblong impressions were mixed with tridactyl impressions, and vice versa, as you followed the trackways along their full length. So, evolutionists have no trouble identifying the indistinct oblong trackways as dinosaurian in origin.

There are also many erosion features, shallow oblong holes, along both banks of the Paluxy river — these miniature potholes were carved out by water streaming in one direction down the river. They are of an extremely wide variety of sizes and shapes.

In some cases like the famous “Von Daniken print” (a single “human-foot shaped” feature in Paluxy that was featured in Von Danikenʼs film, “Chariots of the Gods,” and in creationist publications, including Weston-Smithʼs book, Manʼs Origin and Manʼs Destiny), both Von Daniken and later creationists left the gravel on one side of the feature, and even wetted it in, to make it look like the printʼs right side was as well defined as its left side, but in fact the “printʼs” right side does not exist at all, but is flush with the rock, and it only exists when you leave gravel there or “wet the print” to create a “right side of the foot” in your mindʼs imagination. (You can see how this works when you view photos taken from different angles with the print clean of gravel and not wetted.) Even John Morris noted his own doubts concerning the Von Daniken print. Morris admitted when it was first photographed it had only four “toes” (the first two being equal-sized in an anatomically abnormal fashion), but years later a fifth “toe” began appearing in photos, and even Morris suggests that the “fifth toe” was not originally in evidence, but probably resulted from later tampering.

The story of the Paluxy “manprints” debacle appeared in Creation/Evolution Journal in which Ronnie Hastingʼs published his daily journal of interactions with ICR researchers who came to look at what Kuban had found, and their reactions, at first, dismissal, then taking their own more careful second and third looks, and finally admitting they couldnʼt really see the “human-ness” of the trackways any more than Kuban could:

Kubanʼs photos and detailed site diagrams were also published in black and white in Origins Research, a creationist journal that originated with seed money from ICR. Copies of past issues of Origins Research are still available at the ARN website, for a price:

Origins Research Volume 9, Number 1 - Spring/Summer 1986
The Taylor Site “Man Tracks” Glen J Kuban
A Review of ICR Impact Article 151 Glen J Kuban
A Follow up on the Paluxy Mystery John Morris
A Footprints in Stone: The Current Situation Films for Christ Assoc.

Snellingʼs 1986 remarks on the “strange red-brown stains on the rocks”

“The unknown significance of hithertofore unexposed strange red-brown stains on the rocks in and around the footprints renders the need for caution until further research explains this occurrence.” (Creation (Ex Nihilo), Andrew Snelling, March, 1986, Vol. 8, No.2, p. 37)

E.T.B.ʼs Comment: The reddish “stain” revealing the tridactyl nature of the alleged “man tracks” can be seen even in the early YEC film, “Footprints in Stone,” long before Kuban ever arrived on the scene. Also, the “stains” are not superficial: Drill core samples taken at the edges of the stained surface showed that the reddish sediments curved with the impression of the dinosaurʼs foot beneath the surface, as Kuban showed via his drill core samples that he photographed.

AiGʼs Latest Claim: “Human and Dino Prints” Found Together in Russia

E.T.Bʼs Comment: AiG admits that it is best to remain skeptical of “magic bullet” stories that can allegedly overthrow an old-earth or evolution in one shot, especially if such stories are not thoroughly researched.

AiGʼs latest report of “human and dino prints” found together in Russia has not been researched, no photos, just a newspaper article. So by their own definition they ought to be skeptical about this new evidence, no?

Snelling at AiG has admitted that perhaps there will never be found any indisputably genuine pre-flood human fossils or pre-flood human artifacts or evidence of pre-flood dwellings (such as a series of small walls found in Cretaceous or earlier strata). Instead, Snelling has suggested that perhaps no evidence of pre-Flood human beings may ever be found: “When God pronounced judgment on the world, He said, ‘I will destroy [blot out] man whom I have created from the face of the earth’ (Gen. 6:7). Perhaps the lack of pre-flood human fossils is part of the fulfillment of this judgment?”

Answers in Genesisʼ Recent Comments on Carl Baughʼs Research

(Carl Baugh, Kent Hovind, and Ron Wyatt (deceased) are among the last remaining supporters of the Paluxy “manprints”):
“[We suggest creationists do not use…] many of Carl Baughʼs creation ‘evidences.’ Sorry to say, AiG thinks that heʼs well meaning but that he unfortunately uses a lot of material that is not sound scientifically. So we advise against relying on any ‘evidence’ he provides, unless supported by creationist organisations with reputations for Biblical and scientific rigor. Unfortunately, there are talented creationist speakers with reasonably orthodox understandings of Genesis (e.g. Kent Hovind) who continue to promote some of the Wyatt and Baugh ‘evidences’ despite being approached on the matter (Ed. note: see our Maintaining Creationist Integrity, our response to Hovindʼs reply to this article).”

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