Creation/Evolution Journal
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Volume
5
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No.
1
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Introduction

Introduction
Reviewed by
J.R. Cole, L.R. Godfrey, R.J. Hastings, and S.D. Schafersman

When
creationist Clifford L. Burdick published in 1950 a short article entitled "When
GIANTS Roamed the Earth: Their Fossil Footprints Still Visible!" in the Seventh
Day Adventist periodical Signs of the Times, he opened a can of worms
still not contained. He brought public attention to an issue that had been
fairly local up to that time—the claim that human and dinosaur tracks are found
together in the same strata and that the human tracks were made by biblical
giants.

A. W. McCann (1922), Byron Nelson (1931) and George McCready Price
(1935) had previously revived nineteenth century Seventh Day Adventist "Flood
Geology," which claimed vaguely that humans and prehistoric animals had lived
together before Noah's flood had reshaped the earth about 4800 years ago.
However, they lacked the direct evidence that Burdick thought he had
found.

Burdick was originally inspired by a 1939 Natural History
magazine article by Roland T. Bird mentioning the discovery of fake giant
human footprints from Glen Rose, Texas—prints that had been carved in the
Cretaceous rock. Burdick began his search for these prints in 1945 and managed
to locate them in a small museum in Arizona. Refusing to believe that they were
carved, he enthusiastically discussed them with his creationist colleagues. In
1961. photographs taken by Burdick of the tracks appeared in The Genesis
Flood
by Whitcomb and Moms. This book, hailed by the creationists themselves
as the watershed of the modern "scientific" creation movement, helped spread the
Paluxy mantrack claims.

Following the appearance of The Genesis Flood, individual creationists and creationist teams began visiting the Glen Rose
area looking for new "mantracks" (as they came to be called). Notable among
these was Stanley Taylor who, after a 1968 search, returned in 1970 with a full
crew and produced the film Footprints in Stone. This film gave the
mantrack claims an even larger audience and further interest was aroused. As a
result, the Institute for Creation Research began their own explorations in
1975—the same year that Erich Von Daniken, author of Chariots of the Gods?, sent a cameraman from Europe to film the tracks in order to support his own
"ancient astronaut" claims.

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The latest in this series of investigators is
the Reverend Carl Baugh. He began digging sporadically at the McFall site,
upriver from Dinosaur Valley State Park, in
1982. In a 1983 Bible-Science Association audio tape, Baugh announced his
discovery of 44 "human" footprints at the McFall site, some in left-right-left
sequences and some stepped on by "Tyrannosaurus rex." Most had eroded or
dried out, becoming invisible within an hour or so of discovery, thereby making
examination by others impossible. (See Table.)

Table 1
Carl Baugh's "Manprints" at the McFall Site, 1983

Number of tracks

Average length of tracks

Baugh's comments

28

16"

an individual 8½ feet tall

7

9 ¾"

called "Beverly" because probably a
woman

4

12"

named "Sir George" after former governor of Fiji

5

22"

13' tall, 600
pounds,
flat-footed

From such discoveries as
these, Baugh concluded that the mantracks were made by people "wading in water,
probably searching for clams" between high tides in the "Cambrian" Paluxy area.
Then, at high tides, these people returned to temporary safety on the Llano
Uplift (Baugh, 1983b), which, incidentally, comprises a distance of about 100
miles each way!

Baugh also carelessly attributed all three-toed (theropod
or ornithopod) dinosaur prints in the region to Tyrannosaurus and
sauropod prints to Brontosaurus, indicating perhaps that he was misled by
the fiberglass models of Tyrannosaurus and Brontosaurus on display
in Dinosaur Valley State Park. These models were placed there by Arco Oil
Company as representatives of two of the suborders of saurischian
("lizard-hipped") dinosaurs which actually made prints in the Paluxy region
(Theropoda and Sauropoda, respectively). The models do not represent the
actual dinosaurs known locally via skeletons or tracks and there is no model of
an ornithopod. Glen Rose Cretaceous deposits predate the Late Cretaceous
appearance of Tyrannosaurus by millions of years and postdate the Late

Jurassic appearance of Brontosaurus by a much longer period of
time.

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Elsewhere (Bartz, 1982b), Baugh spoke glibly of coexisting
saber-toothed tiger tracks at the
McFall site, bear tracks at the park, and mammoth tracks and fossils in the
general area. He called these "Paluxy Enigmas" that pose problems for scientists
who wish to reject the notion that humans and dinosaurs coexisted at the time of
Noah's Flood. But, in fact, these statements made his arguments sound even
weaker than those of other creationists, since Baugh was describing a Fred
Flintstone bestiary of famous fossils that are not associated with the Paluxy
River area, were not contemporary with each other, and, more importantly, have
not been in any way accurately identified by him. His claims would have at least
sounded better if his fossil name-dropping had been anything close to
accurate. In any case, Baugh declared that his findings made a shambles of the
evolutionary sequences built up by supposedly closed-minded scientists who
"refuse to look at the evidence" (Baugh, 1983b).

In 1982 and 1983 we
accepted the challenge to look at the evidence firsthand. We began as people
fully supportive of evolution and we emerged in similar condition. Nonetheless,
we sought out as much creationist evidence as we could find, with the intention
of rigorously analyzing the data and claims. Others before us had examined some
of these claims (Bird, 1939; Neufeld, 1975; Zuidema, 1979 and 1981; Weber, 1981;
Godfrey, 1981; Slaughter, in Kirsch, 1982; Langston, 1983), but we wanted to
cross-check previous analyses and to draw these and our own on-site research
into a report accessible to educators, students, theologians, and others
confronted by scientific creationist claims.

We examined as many mantracks
as we could, not just those recently publicized by Baugh (1983a, b) and his
associates. We measured and photographed alleged mantracks at Dinosaur Valley
State Park, a cement-covered "mantrack" in Glen Rose, dinosaur tracks and
mantracks at the Thayer Site near New Braunfels, as well as tracks at the McFall
site where Baugh has been excavating. We analyzed creationists' published
measurements, photographs, and arguments. We sampled a good cross-section of
current and past mantrack claims, interviewed local creationists and mantrack
skeptics, and consulted with paleontologists familiar with these sites. Two of
us, Dr. Hastings and Dr. Schafersman, visited the sites many more times and
interviewed creationist excavators, including Baugh.

Later, after we had
completed much of our study, creationist Russell Arndt heard a presentation of
our findings and said, in effect, "OK, maybe none of the tracks you saw
were mantracks after all, but they will be found there; you haven't
seen Dr. Baugh's most recent discoveries, have you?"

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This is a common
argument. Every pseudoscientific claim we know of falls back on this kind of
argument (and the related question, "Were you there when it was discovered?").
Only logic and common sense can answer such objections, because believers can
always stay at least one "manstep" ahead of skeptics. So, rather than attempt the impossible task of
replying to every mantrack claim, we have tried to discuss the
biological/anatomical, geological, cultural, and illogical nature of the claims
in general and how they can be evaluated according to the rules, instead
of particularistic, anecdotal opinions.

Acknowledgements

We
wish to thank Lee Mansfield, the Somerville County Museum, and many kind Glen
Rose residents. We also thank Dr. Warm Langston, Jr., Dr. Walter Coombs, Dr.
Neil Gomberg, Dr. Paul Godfrey, Dr. Eugenie Scott, Dr. Miles Richardson, Dr.
Eric Delson, Frederick Edwords, Dan Lorenz, and Dr. Pia Nicolini for their
assistance on various aspects of the project.

An anonymous benefactor
provided funds through this journal for August 1982 work and partial funds for
the 1983 video documentary production of The Case of the Texas
Footprints
.

Comments and interpretations are the responsibility of the
authors and editors, not the organizations or consultants noted
above.

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