In 1885, a Professor J F Brown of Berea College (Kentucky, USA) discovered a set of apparently human footprints among those of other creatures in a road cutting at Big Hill, Jackson County (also Kentucky). The deposit in which they were found was a limestone apparently dated to the Carboniferous Era; they were described as being “good-sized, toes well spread, and very distinctly marked” (A E Allen in Transactions of the American Antiquarian 7 (1885), 39).

The real problem for this observation is that the prints of other creatures included some identified as a bear and something resembling a large horse; mammals did not exist at the time the deposit was supposedly laid down and one must ask whether they were definitely in the limestone or in a more recent but heavily compacted soil above it or even whether they were simulacra (natural objects that resemble other things) rather than genuine prints. Without an image of these footprints, we are left guessing.