In the summer of 1909, a year after
this flash flood, local teenager ‘Bull’ Adams, was wandering through the Wheeler
Branch tributary of the river when he came across a series of large, three-toed
footprints (1). Bull Adams wasn’t to know this at the time, but he just as he
was destined to disappear into relative historical obscurity, he was to bequeath
to his little brother George a profitable sideline that would generate much
controversy in the years to come.
These three-toed footprints were first recognised as dinosaur
prints by local schoolmaster, Mr. R. E. McDonald, and they
have since been more specifically identified as tracks from a large theorpod
dinosaur called Acrocanthosaurus (above) (2).
There is nothing unique in the discovery of dinosaur footprints
in prehistoric former muddy waterbeds, for such footprints can be found in such
locations throughout the world. However what was shattering was the discovery
made two years later by two other local youths, Charlie and Grady Moss. The
brothers were fishing in the Paluxy River itself when they came across a trail
of these three-toed dinosaur tracks (below left) on a limestone shelf alongside what
appeared to be human footprints (3).
These ‘giant mantracks’ as Charlie Moss described them, were readily accepted as
genuine human footprints by the local townspeople, but only regarded as a minor
curiosity. It appeared that no-one who knew about the tracks considered their
for, as discussed in the previous chapter,
our standard geologic timetable of accepted history informs us that there was a
gap of over sixty million years between dinosaurs and mankind. (In fact
these tracks were even more ancient than that, now being assigned by mainstream
geologists to the lower Cretaceous period, some 113 million years ago. (4))
The find of human footprints together with those of these
theorpods should therefore be impossible, yet the tracks were there and other
supporting evidence of the co-existence of the two species in Paluxy was
discovered close-by; namely a fossilised human tooth, a trilobite and a
This ‘evidence’ for
a revision of history was music to the ears of the ‘Creationist’ lobby - those
who argue that the world is not millions of years old but merely thousands, as
‘claimed’ by the Bible. Creationists also
believe that Earth was created ‘old’ - though quite why a God who is considered
a leading authority on truth and honesty, should have set the ball rolling by
starting with a misleading Creation remains unanswered.
News of the mantracks slowly became wider knowledge and led to
the publication of several articles and books. Amongst the first creationist
advocates of the man track claims was Clifford Burdick, an American who had
previously helped found the ‘Deluge Society’, one of the first
Burdick’s early investigations in the 1940s put him in contact with
local Paluxy character Al Berry. Berry was in possession of a number of
individual slabs cut from the riverbed with the curious footprints on them.
and local storekeeper, Jack Hill, signed an affidavit stating that they had gone
to Glen Rose in the autumn of 1938 to retrieve some ‘human’ and ‘cat’ tracks
that were in danger of being destroyed by the construction of a small dam on the Paluxy river. The slabs later came into Burdick’s possession, with one of them
subsequently being named after the new owner; the ‘Burdick Print’
Burdick then published an article about the prints in the
Seventh Day Adventist magazine, ‘Signs of the Times’ in which he stated
that the Paluxy riverbed contained clear dinosaur and contemporary human
Burdick’s interest wasn’t geological; as a creationist he considered the
dinosaur and human footprints as irrefutable proof that evolution had not
occurred, and that the fossil record was merely formed during Noah’s flood. This
article generated a new wave of interest (5).
The years passed, and in the early 1960s the existence of the
Paluxy mantracks became more widely known when photographs of the loose carvings
previously owned by Al Berry and Jack Hill were published in the book ‘The
Genesis Flood’ by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris (6).
A further creationist book, ‘Man’s Origin, Man’s
Destiny’ followed in 1975 (7) and shortly after its publication, the tracks
came to the attention of Stanley Taylor, a Baptist minister who owned a film
company, ‘Films For Christ.’ Taylor made enquiries of the tracks, and his
research led him to produce and narrate a 16mm film entitled ‘Footprints In
Stone’ in 1972.