No. 46: Jul-Aug 1986
The response to the SF#45 item on the Paluxy comingling of dinosaur and human footprints was immediate, copious, and sometimes emotional. Even though we regularly survey 100-or-so scientific journals, it seems that considerable Paluxy field work has never attained these hallowed pages -- probably it never will! Even though the SF#45 report was rather negative on the issue of the validity of the claims of the creationists, it evidently was not negative enough. We now have some documentation with which to clarify some points.
G.J. Kuban has been in the forefront of Paluxy research for several years. He has submitted a long letter plus the Spring/Summer issue of a publication entitled Origins Research (published by the Students for Origins Research). This issue of Origins Research contains a lengthy article by Kuban plus shorter contributions from J. Morris (author of the ICR article digested in SF#45) and the Films for Christ Association (preparers of the film Footprints in Stone.)
First, we quote from Kuban's personal communication:
"As is explained in the enclosed Origins Research issue, the tracks never did merit a human interpretation, and presently are not as 'mysterious' as ICR and some other creationist groups would have us believe. Indeed, whereas the geo-chemistry of the colorations is still being studied, the color distinctions are definitely part of the rock material, and show no evidence of a 'painting' hoax. Further, even without the colorations, the other features of the tracks thoroughly refute the human interpretation. The drawings in the ICR Impact article (and reproduced in the Science Frontiers newsletter) are not accurate. These drawings are discussed in depth in the enclosed article; however, I would like to emphasize a few points here. First, although in many cases the color distinctions are not associated with significant depressions in the rock surface (apparently due to an infilling of secondary material), where there are depressions or elevations in the rock surface, the colorations generally conform to the borders of the contours quite naturally, rather than in the unnatural manner shown in the ICR article drawing. Second, most of the tracks do not have rounded mud pushups at the anterior (as suggested by the ICR drawing), but most show evidence of a more pointed middle digit, as well as lateral dinosaurian digits -- with the entire anterior typically showing a widely-splayed 'V' or tridactyl shape. Indeed, the anterior of many of the 'man tracks' always did show shallow impressions in a tridactyl pattern and other dinosaurian features. Some of these dinosaurian features were noticed by researchers as early as 1970, and have been well-documented by myself and others in recent years."
(Kuban, Glen J.; personal communication, May 30, 1986. Also: Anonymous; "The Taylor Site 'Man Tracks'," Origins Research, 9:1, Spring/Summer 1986.)
As for the implication of fraud mentioned in SF#45, J. Morris retracts the charge:
"Many have suggested that someone may have stained the surface surrouding some of the human-like tracks to give them a reptilian appearance. However, no evidence of fraud has been found, and some hints of these dinosaur toe stains have now possibly been discerned on photos taken when the prints in question were originally discovered. Furthermore, on the same site, over 100 clear dinosaur tracks have now appeared as similar surface stains, which have never before been discovered. Evolutionists have long falsely accused creationists of fraudulently carving their tracks (with no evidence), but we must not resort to their tactics by similarly charging them with fraud without clear evidence."
(Morris, John; "Follow-up on the Paluxy Mystery," Origins Research, 9:14, Spring/Summer 1986.)
Comment. Many, but not all, creationists have now ceased using the Paluxy tracks as evidence that humans and dinosaurs were contemporaneous. Some creationists in fact maintain that new infrared evidence proves that the tridactyl patterns are only stains and not clawmarks at all. In their view, the tracks are still human!