Paluxy River Tracks in Texas Spotlight

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on April 14, 2012

Texas Observer: http://www.texasobserver.org/postcards/item/18410-tracking-creation-in-glen-rose: Tracking Creation in Glen Rose Paluxy River tracks in the Texas spotlight

The postcard illustration of a Glen Rose, Texas, photo spot may be vaguely reminiscent of similar poses at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. However, there are a few twists folks should be aware of. Glen Rose in the Paluxy River valley near Fort Worth has been a dinosaur destination for tourists for decades. Explored by evolutionists and creationists, the dinosaur trackways have been excavated by professional paleontologists and Depression-era locals in need of some valuable fossils to sell. But what has really put Paluxy River’s Cretaceous footprints on the map is the purported prints of humans with the dinosaurs.

A number of investigators over the years have explored the site. Some are described in the Texas Observer feature, and more in a report at ICR’s Paluxy River Mystery. During the Depression, many of the footprints were apparently removed and sold by local people in need of money. What’s left now? Mainly some confusing and changing prints.

While dinosaur tracks are certainly present at Paluxy River, residents and some creation scientists have long claimed that human footprints were preserved in the same strata as dinosaur tracks. Today, the remaining prints are variously described and are even documented to be changing in character, probably in response to the changing environment (for example, due to erosion during periodic flooding of the river). Of course, evolutionists deem it impossible that dinosaurs co-existed with humans and discount the claims. Those who believe the biblical account in Genesis understand that dinosaurs and man were created on the 6th day of Creation week and certainly did co-exist. Many in Glen Rose believe they did, although some of the biblical interpretations quoted in the Texas Observer blend God’s clear words about His Creation with man’s assertions about millions of years. Others residents, like Carl Baugh who established the Creation Evidence Museum, avoid such a compromise.

But the question remains, even though we know from the Bible that mankind and dinosaurs coexisted, did they walk together at Paluxy River?

But the question remains, even though we know from the Bible that mankind and dinosaurs coexisted, did they walk together at Paluxy River? And should anyone’s acceptance of creation science and the biblical record of Genesis depend on the coexistence of human and dinosaur tracks?

Creation scientists from various organizations have investigated the Paluxy River fossils. Given the ambiguity of the evidence and the fact that much of what may have once been present is no longer available for study, we do not believe those claims of coexisting human and dinosaur prints are wholly supportable. Dr. John Morris in 1986 reported similar conclusions, deciding “it would now be improper for creationists to continue to use the Paluxy data as evidence against evolution”1 unless further research brings new facts to light.

Our certainty that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time comes not from the fossil record—where we actually do not expect to find it (see next paragraph)—but from the biblical record. The Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose does agree with Answers in Genesis on the big picture—that the history in Genesis is absolutely trustworthy and that the earth’s geology does offer much in the way of evidence supporting those claims. And even though AiG and Baugh believe dinosaurs and humans have co-existed, Answers in Genesis director of research Dr. Andrew Snelling said, “What Baugh presents there [at his Glen Rose Museum] is sometimes speculative—provocative, for want of a better term. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have those things, but people should realize it’s not the mainstream of the creation movement.”

Many creationist geologists now believe that geological evidence supports the idea that the pre-Flood world had a variety of ecosystems. Therefore, although humans and dinosaurs did walk the earth at the same time, they likely did not spend a lot of time in the same places. Thus the dinosaur habitats would have likely been destroyed and buried while the Floodwaters were still rising before reaching the majority of the human population. Dinosaur fossils have not been definitively found with human fossils. We would not really expect to find pre-Flood human remains, because God told Noah He was going to destroy man along with the earth (Genesis 6:13). Post-Flood human fossils are found in the topmost layers of soil and rock that were laid down during the Ice Age. Those fossils belong to the descendants of Noah who dispersed from Babel (during the time of Genesis 11).

On the other hand, do creationists need evidence like co-existing dinosaur and human tracks? As Ken Ham discussed in Searching for the “Magic Bullet”, many Christians misunderstand the nature of evidence. Both “sides” have the same observable data, the same facts. But all evidence about the past must be interpreted data. The millions-of-years dates assigned to Paluxy River’s trackway by evolutionists are based on calculations rooted in a set of unverifiable, untestable assumptions about the past. Likewise, evolutionists cannot even entertain the possibility that dinosaurs and humans coexisted and would never interpret even a clear fossilized human footprint—if any still remained—as proof to the contrary. Many residents of Glen Rose believe, as do we, that the earth is only about 6,000 years old, as indicated in the Bible. They are therefore open to the possibility that the Paluxy tracks include human prints. Paluxy River may or may not have ever had the human tracks some say it did, but the site is an excellent place to ponder the importance of worldviews in the interpretation of observable facts.


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Footnotes

  1. ICR’s Paluxy River Mystery

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.