Vol. 1 - No. 8 

August, 1982

"Footprints"

by Lynn Trapp

I am no friend of the theory of mechanistic evolution which has become so widespread among scientists. Christians need to be aware of this theory and be prepared to help their children overcome the problems connected with evolutionary teaching which they are bound to hear in the schools. Until more believers in true Biblical revelation become scientists we will continue to be faced with the problem; however we (particularly those of us who are untrained in the sciences) need to take care what kind of material and arguments we use in answering the theory. If parents (or preachers in sermons and bulletins) tell their children that something contradicts evolutionary theory, they better be absolutely certain that it does contradict evolution. Otherwise, if the child later learns that the "fact" does not contradict evolution, he might have a tendency to become an unbeliever.

A specific case in point is the appearance of a number of apparent human footprints in geologic strata which evolutionists say were deposited millions of years before man appeared on the earth. Now, if these are genuine footprints the evolutionist has a lot of re‑examining to do. However, if they are not human footprints, we need to refrain from using them to oppose evolution. There are a large number of reasons for not believing them to be human footprints and we should consider them.

(1) SIZE. The footprints found near Glen Rose, Texas, are of a huge size and in some cases would have supported a man of around 23 feet in height. Now there is no evidence that humans of that size have ever lived on the earth. In fact, the evidence is that man in general is taller now than he ever has been. Some may think of Genesis 6:4 which in the King James says, "There were giants in the earth in those days ..." However the word translated "giants" is the word nephilim which does not refer to one of large physical stature but to a "tyrant" (see Keil and Delitszch). Until there is clear evidence that humans of such size have existed (outside of mythology) we must be careful of using this kind of evidence.

(2) DEPRESSION OF PRINTS. The Paluxy River bed is a soft mud formation (that is, the bed was soft mud when the footprints were made). Yet the dinosaur footprints and the "human footprints" sink to the same depth in the formation. This would only be possible if there were a hard surface below the mud when the impressions were made. Upon close examination we find that below the mud layer is soft shale. Thus a dinosaur weighing several tons would have made a much deeper impression than a human weighing only a few hundred pounds.

(3) RAISED FOOTPRINTS. A supposed fossil human sandal print was found by William Meister at Antelope Springs in Utah in 1968. These "prints" are found in Cambrian rock (one has a fossil Trilobite in the "heel" . The problem with these "sandal‑prints" is that they are not depressed in the formation as are all real footprints, but are raised above the surrounding surface.

(4) ANOMALOUS FOOTPRINTS. All of the impressions do not have marks of true footprints. I have seen a photograph of one of the Paluxy River "footprints" which has the toes of a left foot and the arch of a right foot. Unless the man who made the print had an enormous birth defect it is unlikely that it is a footprint.

(5) DIFFICULT FORMATIONS. Some reports have shown tracks found in rocks that are very unlikely to have ever been walked on when they were soft enough to have made an impression. (A) Some have been found in granite which is a volcanic rock formed and hardened deep underground. (B) Some have been reported in limestone which is formed by chemical precipitation in deep water. (C) Others have been found in metamorphic rocks which are formed under conditions of extreme heat and pressure. It is not likely that human footprints (or any other kind of footprints) would be made in any rocks except for sedimentary. Now while these problems do not completely rule these impressions out as human footprints, until there is an explanation of these problems I am not going to use these "footprints" as a response to evolutionists.

The question that comes up immediately is, "If these impressions are not footprints of humans then what are they?" No doubt this is a legitimate question and we should pay some attention to it. I would suggest three possible causes of the tracks other than human feet. (1) We cannot ignore the possibility, however remote, that they are clever carvings. John Clayton said, "In Glen Rose there has been a history of carved tracks which make it necessary to be careful about jumping to conclusions about the validity of the tracks" (Does God Exist, Vol. 8, No. 1, Jan. 1981, Pg. 7). This is not the most likely explanation of the tracks, but it cannot be ruled out as a possibility without more evidence. (2) They might be solution marks (a formation caused by erosion by a liquid, probably water). Clayton points out, "On top of the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque are hundreds of solution marks identical to the ones exhibited in some books as human tracks ...Some of the tracks in Glen Rose are clearly solution channels eroding pockets made in the rocks" (ibid.). Brother Clayton explained to me that the "sandal prints" from Antelope Springs were most likely this same kind of phenomenon. (3) Formations identical to human foot prints can be merely xenoliths (a formation caused by a section of rock "popping" out of the rock wall). For those who doubt the possibility of such erosional causes there is an erosional formation near Wolf Creek at Perryton, Texas, which has been named "old Mother Grundy" by the local residents because of its resemblance to the face of an old woman. Many erosional features appear in the form of human anatomy features. These explanations offer an alternative to the conclusion that these tracks are human prints and we should be careful of using them as such until more evidence is forth coming.