Found along a tributary of the Paluxy River near Glen Rose, Texas, in 1910, the Paluxy tracks are a series of footprints preserved in limestone that caused a controversy regarding the theory of evolution. According to widely accepted scientific theory, humans evolved many millions of years after dinosaurs walked the earth, but the Paluxy tracks, preserved in limestone, appear to show dinosaurs and humans walking in the same area during the same period of time. Some of the tracks were three-toed impressions clearly identifiable as belonging to two species of dinosaur, the theropod and the sauropod. The remainder were about 15 to 18 inches (38 to 45.7cm) long with a deep, long heel. Upon their discovery, some people immediately concluded that they had been made by an unknown species of dinosaurs. However, at the time, the common view was that two-legged dinosaurs always walked on their toes, so even some scientists decided that the prints must have come from a humanlike creature.
For many years, arguments raged over whether a primitive form of human had made the prints, with Creationists arguing passionately that the Paluxy tracks proved that God had made all creatures, including humans and dinosaurs, in their current form, at the same time. The Creationists argued that God subsequently created a great flood that destroyed just some of these creatures, including the dinosaurs. Some notable Creationist writings on this subject as it related to the Paluxy tracks were The Genesis Flood (1961) by John Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris and Man’s Origin, Man’s Destiny (1965) by A.E. Wilder-Smith, who also produced a film on the subject, Footprints in Stone (1972).
In 1970 and 1980 two scientific studies of the tracks conducted by Creationist scientists, hoping to show that the tracks were human, concluded that the Paluxy tracks were indeed made by dinosaurs, either of some unknown species or whose normally identifiable tracks had been distorted by geological phenomena, though they did not rule out the possibility that humans could have been in the area at the same time. In 1984 a study by non-Creationist scientists also concluded that dinosaurs had made the tracks, which they said had shown three toes before erosion distorted them, and stated that the dinosaur that had made the tracks had pressed harder with its heel than with its toes. Other studies during the late 1980s confirmed this conclusion. This means that there is no evidence to support the idea that humans and dinosaurs once walked the earth at the same time. Nonetheless, Creationists still sometimes refer to the Paluxy tracks as being proof that evolutionary theory is wrong.
- Living Dinosaurs
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning