Tag Archives: man vs archaeology

Man Tracks on the Paluxy River

The ‘Taylor trail’
From Bad Archaeology, click to follow link

So I recently came across this vid while flipping thought YouTube the other day:

Man Vs. Archaeology Episode 1. (http://bit.ly/o4Mw0D)

It sounded familiar, as if I had heard someone debunking it before…When I realized I’d heard it on MonsterTalk over a year ago (http://bit.ly/q7PBmo).  Kenneth Feder talked about the Cardiff Giant and human foot prints found along side dinosaur ones in the Paluxy River in Glen Rose, TX. As you can see in the vid, Creationists claim that the man tracks are proof that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.  They put together a pretty convincing argument…until you realized there is more then what they are showing you.  If you watch the next vid, Episode 2 I believe, the “expert” they find to interview about the tracks claims that some “unknown individuals” were seen vandalizing the footprints. There-by allowing him to dismiss anything that would make the footprints look funny as vandalism. But I might be getting ahead of myself a bit. Let’s find a safe place to start…

The Paluxy River.

Located in Texas, it is a tributary, formed by the convergence of the North Paluxy River and the South Paluxy River and flows a distance of 29 miles before joining the Brazos River just to the east of Glen Rose, Texas.[1] It is best known for numerous dinosaur footprints found in its bed near Glen Rose at the Dinosaur Valley State Park. Dozens of various dinosaur tracks can be seen fossilized in the banks of the river [2]. To my knowledge, all of the tracks have been identified, including the mysterious “Man Tracks” we’ll cover here.

Man Tracks?

The Paluxy River “Man Tracks” were first discovered in 1908 and rose to popularity in 1938 when they were used as a tourist trap during the Great Depression [2]. Zana Douglas, admitted it was a hoax [3]. The Adams family had originally found many of Glen Rose’s real dinosaur tracks and sold them to tourists in the 1930’s for around $15 to $30 each. When the supply ran low, George Adams, carved more, some with human footprints[3]. Zana said her grandfather, George Adams, was an excellent sculptor [3].

These “human foot prints” caused a bit of a stir and drew the attention of Paleontologist Ronald Bird. He went and investigated them in 1938 and the “human” tracks were found to either be those of a bipedal dinosaur (there are clear claw marks) or chiseled forgeries made by the locals to draw crowds [2].

Sometime in the 1970’s the foot prints were re-discovered by the Creationist movement, even going as far as to make a movie (Footprints in Stone, 1973) to tout the ‘evidence’ of a young earth [2]. This was debunked by Berney Neufeld in 1975, when he wrote about his investigations and identification of the elongated tracks that were mistaken for human prints [5].

In 2009, researcher Glen J. Kuban, published his analysis showing the prints are those of an Upright Dino, the long foot-like depression being it’s elongated metatarsals as it walked plantigrade (heel-down) [4].

Where does this get us.

What do we have here then? We’ve got a printed confession, identification of forgeries, and actual identification of real dinosaurs. That’s pretty open and closed. So what made me so interested in the vid on YouTube? The date.

According to the posting date of the First episode of Man vs. Archaeology the show went live on Aug 5, 2011. The guy hosting is pushing the claim that the tracks are real, his expert wants you to think they are as well, and anything that looks weird is really just vandalism. He also makes some claim about “lost” evidence, which is a huge red flag.

Two of the biggest claims that conspiracy theorists and their like make is that their evidence was either 1) Tampered with in order to disguise the truth, or 2) just out right stolen/lost/covered up so no one can see it. That way, when you ask for their evidence they can plausibly say they can’t show it to you. Not because it doesn’t exist, but because it’s been manipulated or stolen.

And So.

First, I think the name of the show is rather, I don’t know, silly. Man vs. Archaeology, is he getting into a boxing ring with the entirety of the field? Is he going to debate some personification of the field in an open forum? He does have catchy theme music, and a really nice intro, once you’re past all the religious stuff that screams  CONFIRMATION BIAS!!!!

Second, talk about beating a dead horse! I mean, how debunked does this have to be? This was put down in the 1930’s! It was debunked again in ’75 and 2009. Then to try and wave all that away with claims of vandals with crowbars? Come on.


[1] “PALUXY RIVER,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rbp17), accessed September 06, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

[2] Feder, Kenneth L. 2010. Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atalantis to the Walam Olum. Santa Barbara, CA. ABC-CLIO, LLC,

[3] Kennedy, Bud. 2008. “Human footprints beside dinosaur tracks? Let’s talk”. Fort Worth Star-Telegram. p. B02. (http://bit.ly/nCW8JQ)

[4] Kuban, Glen J. 2010. “The Paluxy Dinosaur/”Man Track” Controversy” (http://paleo.cc/paluxy.htm), accessed September 06, 2011.  Published by Glen J. Kuban.

[5] Neufeld, Berney. 1975. Dinosaur Tracks and Giant Men. Origins 2(2):64-76.  Geoscience Research Institute. (http://bit.ly/nVu3F6)