Since the 1930s, dinosaur tracks have been known from the bed of the Paluxy River, near Glen Rose, Texas. What makes these tracks so controversial are claims that as well as the footprints of dinosaurs, there are unmistakably human footprints in the same strata. Even creationists admit that some of them are fakes. In some of the ‘man tracks’, it is possible to make out traces of toes to the side of the ‘foot’, which suggests that they are nothing more mysterious than highly eroded three-toed dinosaur tracks. Some also show claw marks at the ‘heel’ of the print, which is another feature typical of a dinosaur footprint but not of a human footprint. In at least one footprint sequence, there is the inexplicable coincidence that dinosaur tracks and ‘human footprints’ alternate.
The Paluxy River ‘man prints’ may resemble human footprints superficially, but they lack the anatomy of real human footprints. Furthermore, dinosaurs and humans are of very different size and weight, but in the Paluxy River, tracks made by some undisputed dinosaurs and supposed humans are sunk to the same depth in the rock, which suggests that both types were made by creatures of the same general weight; there are tracks, made by different dinosaur species sunk to different depths. In the same way, the distances between footfalls of those tracks made to the same depth are spaced the same distance apart, showing that they were made by creatures with similar stride lengths.
The creationist explanation for how the two sets of tracks are found together does not quite match the scenario they propose. The creatures that made the tracks were supposed to have been running from the rising waters of the Great Flood. However, there are several thousand feet of water-deposited sedimentary rock beneath the footprints and several thousand feet on top of them, both of which ought, according to creationist beliefs about geology, have been deposited by the waters of the same Flood the creatures were fleeing. To have produced this sequence, the base rock would have to be deposited by an early ‘high tide’ of the Flood, which then receded long enough for the dinosaurs and humans to run across the valley and leave their tracks, subsequently covering them with a tidal wave that sealed them with a layer of mud, without damaging them. This sequence would have been repeated on numerous occasions, as the dinosaur and ‘human’ tracks appear in a number of superimposed layers. The biggest problem with this, of course, is the question of where the creatures had remained hidden during the early stages of the universal flood if they were rushing to higher land later. But logic never got in the way of religious dogma…
The tracks were investigated by Glen Kuban in the 1980s, whose investigations showed that the tracks are not human footprints. The supposed “manprints” were made by the same three-toed dinosaurs: they appear to be human because only the middle toe is visible. In a number of cases, “manprints” have subsequently eroded to show their true origin. The TalkOrigins website has a very detailed sub-web dealing with the ‘manprints’.
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