|Feature Article - August 2003|
|by Do-While Jones|
On October 1, 1999, we first investigated the dinosaur tracks at Glen Rose, Texas. In our June 2000 newsletter we challenged people to confirm or deny our observations. To our knowledge, nobody did. So, last month we went back tracking those dinosaurs again.
The bed of the Paluxy River, near Glen Rose, Texas, consists of at least 3 layers of limestone. In 1908, the Paluxy River flooded, ripping away portions of the top layer, exposing tracks in the second layer. Many of the tracks were made unquestionably by dinosaurs. Some say that some of the tracks were made by man.
The disputed tracks are long since gone. They were cut out of the river and sold, or eroded away. All that remains is the testimony of many people who saw them in the 1920’s, most of whom are dead now.
John Morris interviewed some of those people in the late 1970’s, and investigated what tracks remained at that time, and published a book 1 about them in 1980. This book contained a valuable map showing where the various tracks were.
In 1999, I examined some of the tracks inside the Dinosaur Valley State Park. It was a good time to view the tracks because the Paluxy River was almost completely dry. Many dinosaur tracks were visible. We reported my findings in the June 2000 newsletter.
The “Making an Impression” sign in the park says dinosaurs walking along the shore of the sea (which extended into Texas at the time) 111 million years ago, made some footprints in soft limestone that had recently been the bottom of the sea. A few months later clay covered the tracks, and turned into shale. Then, the sea returned to cover Texas for the next 46 million years. More limestone accumulated on the bottom of the sea, covering the tracks even deeper. Sixty-million years later, the sea receded, and the water drained off, forming the Paluxy River, which carved away much of the dirt and rock on top of the tracks. Today the river has exposed the tracks for us to see.
Notice, in picture 5 on the sign above, that there are few tracks, and they don't follow the river. If that’s how the tracks were really formed, that’s what one would expect. There would be no reason for the river bed to follow the path that dinosaurs took millions of years earlier. In fact, if the tracks were formed on the beach at the water’s edge, it would be very unlikely that the river would intersect them at all, except at a few isolated places at some oblique angle.
It occurred to me in the airplane on the way home in October of 1999, that most of the tracks followed the river bed. It was as if the dinosaurs were walking up and down the river. But I could not be sure because it did not occur to me at the time to look to see if the tracks really did tend to follow the river.
I had some pictures, like this one, which seemed to confirm my memory.
These tracks were following the river, but were they the only ones?
So, I suggested that kids in the Dallas area might want to investigate the tracks over the summer (when the river is low) and present their findings at a science fair. If any did, they didn’t tell us what they found.
It had been four years since I visited the in-laws living in Oklahoma. It was time to go back again. This time, I made arrangements to stay in Dallas after the visit, so I could go back to Glen Rose again and check my findings. I wanted to see if the tracks followed the river in other places, too.
John Morris’ book contained a map showing the locations of both the dinosaur tracks and disputed human tracks.
In 1999, I had only looked at the tracks inside the park on the portion of the river where it flows north, from the Blue Hole to Park Ledge. I wanted to examine the portion just upstream from there (to the west) where the river flows to the east.
The westernmost site mentioned in John’s book is the “fifth crossing” near the cemetery. He said there weren’t any tracks there, but I went there anyway. Erosion could have exposed some tracks in the last 20 years.
John’s map makes it appear that the cemetery is on State Route 205. Actually, you have to turn off 205 onto road 1008 to get there. There is no sign for the cemetery, so I wasted some valuable time going west several miles on 205.
The fifth crossing is at 32o 14’ 47” N, 97o 50’ 03” W, 636 ft MSL. (I just love my Global Positioning System receiver.) John is right. There is nothing to see there.
There isn’t anything to see at the cemetery, either, just like he says. (But it has a really nice place to picnic by the river.)
At the place John calls, “Point 3” (32o 14’ 15” N, 97o 49’ 48” W, 645 ft.) the road fords the stream. As you can see, it was almost completely dry, and apparently had been since the 4th of July (as indicated by the fireworks that littered the area).
There is a fine line between “keen discernment” and “overactive imagination.” Are these indentations actually dinosaur tracks?
If they are, they are headed 120o (magnetic). The river is headed 120o at this point, too. It was encouraging to find these “tracks”, but maybe it was just my imagination. It certainly wasn’t convincing.
So, I continued east on road 1008 to where it intersects State Highway 205. This apparently is John’s Point 4, near the McFall site. The coordinates are 32o 14’ 12” N, 97o 49’ 39” W, 656 ft. (The elevation measurement may be a little bit high. GPS altitude isn’t as accurate as horizontal position.) Here, I hit pay dirt.
These were clearly dinosaur tracks. Not only that, they were headed 270o, and the river was headed 90o. In other words, the river was flowing east and the tracks were headed west. The tracks were following the river.
Encouraged by this, I went to Dinosaur Valley State Park.
In 1999, I had spent practically all my time at points 1, 4, and 5 on the map above. So, I went first to point 3.
I didn’t find any tracks at all at point 3. There was water in the river, so the tracks might have been submerged.
There isn’t much to see at point 2, either. You can’t actually get down to the tracks from the parking lot. You would have to get down into the river at point 1 or 3 and hike there. It isn’t a long hike, but I would have had to have done it in water about a foot deep on slippery limestone. Besides, I could see from the parking lot that there are only 3 individual tracks that are almost completely eroded away. You probably can’t even see them in the picture below. I couldn’t tell which way they were going.
Point 1 (32o 15’ 12” N, 97o 49’ 7” W, 629 ft) is where the most visible tracks were. That’s presumably why they call it the “main” site.
Finally, I went to the Blue Hole. Just north of the Blue Hole is where I had found the most tracks in 1999. The first of the two pictures that follow was taken in 1999. People were walking on the river bed, pointing out the abundant dinosaur tracks to other family members. There were so many tracks here that it was difficult to walk without stepping on a track. The second picture was taken from approximately the same place in 2003. All of these wonderful tracks were covered with water.
The water isn’t too deep, but the bottom is muddy. The tracks are mostly filled with mud, making them hard to see. But, the few that I could see did seem to follow the river.
In 1999, the water was too deep south of the Blue Hole to see any tracks. It was even deeper this year.
I didn’t have much hope for finding any tracks at all, but I hiked the trail beside the river south to 32o 14’ 46” N, 97o 49’ 13” W. Here the river finally became shallow enough to see the bottom, but the rocks at this point weren’t the rocks which had tracks in them. The rocks are badly broken and eroded. There was nothing to see.
Every place I was able to find distinct tracks, they tended to follow the river. Drawings on the signs at the Dinosaur Valley State Park show the tracks following the river. The drawings in John Morris’ book tend to show tracks following the river (although there are occasional 90 degree crossing paths where animals might have been fording the river).
It is enough to convince me that there is a correlation. When the river runs north, most tracks go north-south. When the river runs east, most tracks run east-west. Where the river ran 120 degrees, some questionable tracks headed 120 degrees.
Should we believe that this is all just a coincidence? Or is it more reasonable to believe that tracks follow the river because the dinosaurs were following the river? The latter seems more reasonable. If that is the case, then dinosaurs walked along the river after it was formed. The prints were not made 111 million years ago because nobody, not even evolutionists, believe that the Paluxy River has been flowing along this course for 111 million years.
If the dinosaur tracks were made just a few thousand years ago, after the Paluxy River established its present course, then there is no reason to doubt that the human-like tracks were made by humans. The primary reason for doubting the human tracks is that the rocks are supposed to be 111 million years old. The reason for believing the rocks are 111 million years old is because there are dinosaur tracks in them, coupled with the belief that those dinosaurs lived 111 million years ago. But if the Paluxy River established its course a few thousand years ago, and the tracks were made when dinosaurs and humans walked along the river bed some hot Texas summer shortly thereafter, it shows that the age assumptions used by the evolutionists are wrong.
The correlation of dinosaur tracks with the direction of the river isn’t absolute proof that dinosaurs were still alive in the recent past (within the last few thousand years), but it certainly seems to suggest that they were. One has to believe in some incredible coincidences to believe that the river just happened to follow the tracks.
The best test is for someone to excavate the area north of the park, where the river never ran, to see if there are any tracks there. Hopefully somebody will do that someday. If they do, we don’t expect them to find any tracks there.
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Morris, Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaurs & the People Who Knew Them, 1980, Bethany House Publishers