Tracking Those Incredible Creationists—The Trail Goes On

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
Tracking Those Incredible Creationists—The Trail Goes On
Author(s): 
Ronnie J. Hastings
Volume: 
7
Number: 
2
Quarter: 
Summer
Page(s): 
30–41
Year: 
1987

The following is another installment of the enthnography and analysis of Paluxy River mantrack claims in Texas traced through Creation Evolution XV and XVII (Hastings 1985, 1986).

March 1986.

In the "News and Views" section of Nature, Australian Tony Thulborn assessed the positive impact John Morris's admission that the "best" of the creationist "mantracks" were dinosaurian would have in exposing creationism (Thulborn, 1986). But the admission was coming somewhat qualified from the Institute for Creation Research so as to keep alive hopes for hard-line "mantrack" enthusiasts. Despite his seeing the evidence for himself in October 1985 (Hastings, 1986), John Morris, in his subsequent Impact article on the Paluxy tracks, suggested that the color distinctions or colorations (also called discolorations) which clearly revealed the "mantracks" to be dinosaurian were only surface phenomena—perhaps the result of painting or staining (Morris, 1986a). He proposed the mechanism of using hydrochloric acid and iron sulfate but failed to point out what a task it would be to paint the well over 120 colorations now documented by Kuban and me.

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Furthermore, Morris had access to cores taken at the Taylor site in November 1985. Both John Makay of Australia and Paul Taylor had aided in getting these cores, each of which measured one-and-one-half inches in diameter. These presumably had been taken to gain insight into how the colorations formed, but Morris had little to say about them except that they were "inconclusive."

The Reverend Carl Baugh, whose activities and support around the Creation Evidences Museum near Glen Rose, Texas, had noticeably diminished since 1982, attempted in the spring of 1986 to excavate some previously purchased land downriver from the Taylor site to find new tracks. Despite spirited reports of bulldozers and plans to use dynamite, this revival of Baugh's "research" dwindled by July, leaving a badly scarred and exposed riverbank dug only a fraction of the way to the track level just upstream from the state park. Curiously, Baugh returned to the submerged Taylor site, attempting to sandbag and expose parts of the Giant Run trail.

Late April 1986.

Glen Kuban published a summary of the results of the research he and I had carried out on the Taylor site in Origins Research, the publication of the creationist organization, Students for Origins Research (Kuban, 1986a). Bristling with many of Kuban's photos, this issue effectively debunked past creationist mantrack claims from within the creationist press. Neither John Morris of ICR nor Paul Taylor of Films for Christ could reply with anything beyond what had been implied in Morris's Impact article (#151).

This was the second time Origins Research had shaken the foundations of the mantrack claims. Earlier, in the wake of Creation/Evolution XV, it had published an exchange between John Cole and creationist John DeVilbiss (Cole, 1985; DeVilbiss, 1985), which encapsulated the groundlessness of mantrack claims leading up to Kuban's and my work on the Taylor site.

May 30, 1986.

John Cole gave an overview of creationist Paluxy "mantrack" claims as part of an afternoon session entitled "The Creation-Evolution Controversy: 1986 Update" at the annual meeting in Philadelphia of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Bolstered by the recently published Creation/ Evolution XVII, which carried articles by Kuban and me, Cole's presentation centered around slides, including some of Glen Kuban's latest from the Paluxy which I had provided. In Philadelphia, I found a general interest in obtaining copies of many of Kuban's slides; however, media interest in the significance of the colorations was surprisingly low, except for some of the foreign press, including newspapers in Sweden and Canada (Ogle, 1986).

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Concurrently, Kuban, at the first annual International Conference on Dinosaur Tracks in Albuquerque, New Mexico, provided what paleontologist Jim Farlow called the "highlight" of the conference: a dual presentation of elongate dinosuar tracks and of color distinctions—the two phenomena considered responsible for the "best" of the creationist "mantracks." Paleontologists and dinosaurian ichnologists reviewed their own worldwide dinosaur trail data to find a heretofore little-noticed frequency of elongate tracks consistent with the dinosaurs "dropping down" on their "heels." Particularly devastating to Morris's suggestion of fraud were further discoveries soon after the conference of dinosaur tracks with colorations in both Colorado and New Mexico (Martin, 1986; Gillette, 1986).

June 3, 1986.

My son, Dan, and I attempted to meet Farlow and a group of paleontologists on a post-conference field trip to Glen Rose, but unusually heavy rains dashed the chances of any riverbed observation and we arrived after their departure. As we witnessed the torrent of water roaring a couple of meters above normal, I wondered if the colorations at the Taylor site would be affected.

The efforts of Creation/Evolution triggered a torrent of media interest in the work Kuban and I had done and which had led to Morris's retraction about the "mantracks." An initial New York Times article on June 17 (Wilford, 1986) heralded the appearance of many other articles throughout the summer (Golden, 1986a; Boyer, 1986; Lemonick, 1986; Pugh, 1986; Long, 1986). Kuban, Cole, and I provided many of the accompanying photos.

John Morris responded to Thulborn's report in Nature with a letter repeating the fraud possibility and erroneously stating the relationship between the colorations and the shallow depressions sometimes associated with them on the Taylor trail (Morris, 1986b). Farlow, Cole, Kuban, and I responded with letters, the mildest of which was eventually published in condensed form (Farlow, 1986).

July 29, 1986.

My wife and I arrived in Glen Rose to find that John Morris was present and working at the Taylor site, perhaps with Baugh. Anxious to meet Morris and talk with him, we drove to Jacob McFall's house on the bank of the Paluxy, where access to the Taylor site is the easiest. There in the McFall yard were Morris and a colleague from Oklahoma just returning from the river. Before I could even begin talking with Morris, the McFalls verbally evicted me from their property—an unexpected turn of events, as my relationship with them had been congenial until then. I could only surmise that their very latest associations with Baugh or their displeasure over Creation/Evolution XVII had caused this change. Before we left, I managed to make arrangements with Morris to meet him in Glen Rose.

Morris failed to meet with me, however. He drove by the appointed place at a local motel without glancing our way. After almost an hour waiting for him to return, I left him a hand-written letter via a motel clerk, to which he never responded.

July 30, 1986.

Morris also failed to meet science writer Gayle Golden of the Dallas Morning News who had driven from Dallas to Glen Rose to keep the appointment. Undeterred, Golden traced Morris to the Taylor site where he was working with Baugh and others on the Giant Run trail.

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What exactly Morris was looking for was never clear, though he was expressly tired of the whole mantrack affair (Golden, 1986b) and seemed uncomfortable working with Baugh. Perhaps he was looking for some significant information to take with him to the International Conference on Creationism being held in Pittsburgh the following week, at which he was scheduled to present something on the Paluxy tracks. Nonetheless, his behavior toward both Golden and me during these two days was not befitting someone who was interested in how the colorations could have formed. I, for one, could have given him lots of information.

August 4-9, 1986.

Morris's behavior continued in the same vein at the conference. Kuban had been grudgingly given some time to report on the identity of the "mantracks." Kuban allowed Morris to borrow some of his slides, hoping that Morris would reciprocate by letting Kuban examine at least photos of Morris's cores. No reciprocation was forthcoming (Kuban, 1986c). Though virtually unpublicized during the conference, Kuban's presentation on August 8 prepared those who attended for the misinformation Morris presented the next day. Morris would have his audience believe that Kuban and the "Raiders of the Lost Tracks" (Godfrey, Cole, Schafersman, and Hastings) were heavily funded by organizations such as the American Humanist Association and that he had been accused by these investigators of having carved footprints—neither of which is true (Wakefield, 1986). Still calling his cores "inconclusive," Morris only very briefly displayed slides of them and did not allow anyone, especially Kuban and Cole, a good look at them. Morris overlooked such questioners from the audience as Cole and, after the presentation, pretended not to recognize Cole or to realize that Creation/Evolution XV and XVII answered many of his own questions about the Taylor site (Cole, 1986).

August 1986.

By now, Kuban and I planned to get cores for ourselves—to obtain evidence whether the colorations were surface-only or subsurface—thereby settling once and for all the matter of possible painting or staining. So obvious had the genuineness of the colorations been to us that little had seemed needed for their analysis beyond the small surface chips I had taken in October 1985. These chips showed no unexpected geochemical features (Hastings, 1986) and indicated a material other than limestone below the track surface. But the comparative silence of Morris about his cores, coupled with the new professional interest in the coloration phenomenon, compelled us to take further action. Uncooperative weather (the Paluxy was unusually high for August), Kuban's lack of traveling funds, and a medical emergency in my own family combined to postpone our efforts. However, we did locate and obtain a small, portable coring tool.

Two of the "Raiders," Laurie Godfrey and John Cole, published in Natural History a concise overview of creationist "mantrack" claims, citing the colorations as part of the explanation of why the Taylor site tracks are dinosaurian (Godfrey, 1986).

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Meanwhile, BBC producer Jeremy Taylor, through contacts with Cole and me, was arranging to film part of a documentary featuring the exposure of creationist "mantrack" claims along the Paluxy. He represented the Horizons division of the BBC, the producers of the British-made episodes of "Nova" on PBS. A preliminary trip to Glen Rose in early August verified for Jeremy Taylor that the Paluxy/Glen Rose setting was ideal for his purposes.

September 5-7, 1986.

The first opportunity for Kuban and me to obtain cores from the Taylor site came when we met with Gayle Golden at Glen Rose for part of her extensive interviews. She was writing a background story about the personalities associated with the Paluxy "mantrack" claims over the years, which eventually was published in late October (Golden, 1986b). Heavy rains once more brought the river roaring high on its banks, however, so coring was impossible. In between interviews and photography sessions, Kuban and I tried out our coring tool on a large piece of limestone taken well away from the river.

We also tested Morris's claim that limestone could be stained with hydrochloric acid and iron sulfate. On the same piece of rock, we found that rusty stains could indeed be produced. The color resembled that of some colorations at the Taylor site which had been surface-oxidized. This was especially true using just the iron sulfate solution. But there the resemblance ended. The true stains had a mere topical appearance, while the colorations actually associated with the tracks appeared to be a part of the substrate. The stains had runny, irregular edges, bearing no resemblance to the smooth contours outlining the dinosaurian colorations. And even days later, the stains could be easily rubbed off the surface of the rock specimen, whereas the colorations seem to change, if ever, only after months of river action and then sometimes to brighter colors.

But as Kuban and I spent the remainder of the weekend visiting the Thayer site or Dinosaur Flats in south Texas and high water continued to prevent us from doing any work in the Paluxy, we knew we would still have to get our own cores to clinch the case for genuine subsurface colorations and to see exactly what Morris had seen in his cores.

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September 20-23, 1986.

True to its steep gradient, the Paluxy subsided to a level not much higher than, and just as calm as, that of October 1985 when visibility was optimal, though the tracks were still submerged (Hastings, 1986). Jeremy Taylor and British biologist Richard Dawkins came to Glen Rose to film part of a documentary based upon Dawkins' new book, The Blind Watchmaker, an inquiry into the argument from design. The Paluxy "mantracks" were to be used as a vehicle demonstrating the pseudoscientific lengths to which people go to argue against naturalistic explanation. With the help of students Brian Sargent, George Cole, and Liz Shelley, Jeremy Taylor, Dawkins, Kuban, and I cleaned part of the Taylor site for filming. (Remnants of Baugh's sandbagging were still present.) Our own sandbagging proved unsuccessful, so a large aquarium was used to expose some of the Taylor site tracks. Al West voluntarily prepared the West site for filming. For two days a film crew from Dallas shot several scenes with Dawkins as narrator and Jeremy Taylor as director, employing Kuban and me in scenes at the Taylor site (accessed elsewhere than through the McFall property), at a sauropod trail in Dinosaur Valley State Park, at the West site, and at the old McFall site upriver from the Baugh-McFall site. The film is scheduled for its debut in the United Kingdom in 1987.

During this time, Kuban and I were able to take our cores. We first noticed that the creationists' cores now numbered about twenty and that, on some multicolored tracks (for example, Taylor track IIS-1 and Ryals track Ry+4), several of these large core diameters (one-and-one-half inches) seemed to deface the tracks. It was interesting to note that among the tracks Baugh had sandbagged the previous month was GR-1 of the Giant Run, a track Kuban and I discovered in 1984. With permission from the state park officials, we took a total of seven five-eighths-inch cores, most of which corresponded with some of Morris's, in order to see what he had seen, and all of which were located on a coloration boundary to catch any subsurface distinction between inside and outside the tracks.

Five of the seven were from "mantrack" trails (Taylor, Ryals, and Giant Run), while the other two were from a trail everyone called dinosaurian (IIDW). All showed quite clearly a distinct boundary between the grayish, claylike material inside and beneath the track area and the ivory-tan limestone outside the track area—just as Kuban and I had predicted since late 1984. No microscopic analysis was needed to confirm that the colorations were indeed subsurface phenomena, extending at least several centimeters below the surface, and that the oftimes reddish-rust color was the oxidation of the surface of the claylike "inside" material. The difference between the "inside" and "outside" material could be felt when holding the coring bit: the claylike material yielded to the bit much more easily than the limestone. Later, back in Ohio, Kuban observed that weak hydrochloric acid reacted differently inside and outside, as one would expect when comparing clay and limestone (Kuban, 1986c).

Questions remain about the exact geochemistry of the colorations and how they formed, though all of Kuban's and my observations are consistent with an infilling mechanism, in which the tracks were soon covered after they were made. These questions are being investigated in labs available to Jim Farlow, using our cores. No question remains, however, concerning Morris's "last ditch" hope for "mantrack" enthusiasts. The colorations, which even the ICR could not ignore, are genuine; fraud or hoax is out of the question—they are far from "inconclusive."

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The ICR has declared that either the colorations show the tracks to have been dinosaurian all along or they are fraudulant. By their own logic, the cores Kuban and I took eliminate the latter possibility. However, the same cores raise such interesting questions as: did Morris see in his cores what we readily saw in ours? If not, why not? If so, does that explain his unwillingness to display his cores? Does Morris not see that, regardless of mechanism or geochemistry involved, the fraud hypothesis is utterly rejected? Based upon Morris's behavior in the summer of 1986, Kuban and I suspect that he did, it does, and he cannot or will not.

October 1986.

Creationist John DeVilbiss, former critic of Baugh's work yet still a "mantrack" enthusiast, conducted work on a site just across the Paluxy from the old McFall site and noted several "possible mantracks." Though well documented and mapped, in contrast to the lack of such documentation in earlier creationist work, DeVilbiss identified erosionlike depressions on a well-eroded part of the riverbed as humanlike. Some of these are similar to erosion marks on the Park Ledge (Godfrey, 1985; Godfrey and Cole, 1986). Two of some seven or eight depressions could be correlated as being alongside highly eroded dinosaur trails, which is consistent with Kuban's and my hypothesis that many "mantracks" alongside dinosaur trails were made by the dinosaur's tail or other appendage (Hastings, 1986).

This creationist work was supported in part by contributions from Ohio creationists, and, according to the April 1987 Acts & Facts, DeVilbiss was assisted by Baugh. If indeed Baugh did assist in this work, it is indicative that creationists do not consider Baugh to be as much of a liability as when he directed earlier work. Previously that summer, when John Morris visited the Paluxy prior to the creationist conference, he had consented to Baugh's assistance with apparent reservations (Golden, 1986b).

December 1986.

Baugh, assisted by Dr. Marlin Clark (Institute for Creation Research, 1987), resumed his excavation activities at a new sight just downstream from the old McFall site and upstream from the site of Baugh's excavations in 1982 and 1983 (Godfrey, 1985; Godfrey and Cole, 1986; Hastings, 1985, 1986). After a flourish of media coverage, Baugh's new "mantracks" kindled little or no interest, even from local Glen Rose residents.

January 31, 1987.

Jim McDonald, Dan Hastings, and I visited Baugh's new site as well as DeVilbiss's site. In a relatively small excavated area, Baugh had exposed elongate depressions very similar to those he had called human in 1982. Of the five or six depressions, none correlated in any way to form a trail and none had features remotely resembling features of human tracks in soft mud. The area exposed was too small to correlate with dinosaur trails at this time, although these depressions were on the same level as the nearby old McFall site, which displayed several dinosaur trails.

Meanwhile, my article on Kuban's and my debunking of the "best" of the creationist "mantracks" at the Taylor site appeared in the Journal of Geological Education (Hastings, 1987).

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February 1987.

John Morris and David McQueen arrived on the scene of Baugh's new site to assess the finds and to try to learn more about the colorations at the Taylor site (Institute for Creation Research, 1987). Though described as "insufficient to convince a skeptic," the new depressions, according to the ICR, "do show evidence of human toe marks which seem to support a human interpretation." Thus is new hope among "mantrack" enthusiasts encouraged. Interestingly, Baugh's new work is described as "based on the higher standards of precision with which Dr. Baugh is conducting his excavations," as if even the ICR recognizes that his previous work left much to be desired. Results of the ICR's coloration study are promised at a later time.

March 22, 1987.

Baugh's new site had been slightly enlarged by this date, revealing along one side of the excavated area an unmistakable dinosaur trail with which at least two of the "mantracks" could be correlated as tail or other appendage marks. Ironically, as more effort is made by the mantrackers to display "mantracks" alongside dinosaur tracks, the more those "mantracks" show themselves continually explicable by Kuban's and my dinosaur marking hypothesis.

March 28-29, 1987.

On March 29, on one of the field trips associated with a Geological Society of America meeting in Waco, Texas, paleontologist Jim Farlow led a group, which included "Raider" Steven Schafersman, to see the dinosaur and "mantracks" at Glen Rose. The previous day, Kuban and I had met to prepare the Taylor site for observation by this field group. We also took a few more cores of the coloration phenomenon to further our previously published analyses (Hastings, 1986, 1987; Kuban, 1986a, 1986b). Unseasonably inclement weather, including snow on March 29, prevented the group from wading into the chilly water to see the colorations.

Kuban's and my later cores showed the coloration phenomenon to be deeper than previously thought. The coloration material inside the track area is more dolomitic in content and more claylike in consistency than the outside dolomitic limestone. Its tendency to surface oxidize upon exposure reflects a different geochemistry than that of the riverbed limestone. Consistent with these findings is a scenario in which terrigenous material mixed with lime mud precipitated from a mixture of fresh water and sea water at high tide, infilling fresh dinosaur tracks made on a lime mud tidal flat at low tide. Selective diagenesis, augmented by algae in the pools left in the almost completely infilled tracks, could also have played a role in forming the different geochemistry inside the tracks. Subsequent lithification and recent reexposure led to the tridactyl-shaped coloration phenomenon seen today, which constituted the most vivid evidence demonstrating the dinosaurian origins of all the Taylor site trails (Hastings, 1986, 1987; Kuban, 1986a, 1986b; Golden, 1986b; Lemonick, 1986; Wilford, 1986).

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Kuban's forthcoming history of the Paluxy "mantrack" claims, "The Paluxy Mantrack Controversy," will detail events concerning "mantracks" so that in the future few questions about exactly what happened should remain. Kuban has recently located the original Osborn-Caldwell track and has plans to include in the history the evidence which shows this track to be a carving. Also to be included in his book will be details of how "sworn statements" of old-time Glen Rose residents were misrepresented by creationist mantrack enthusiasts.

April 1987.

By this time, the entrance building of Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose featured a small museum-quality display for visitors. A painted mural of the dinosaurs thought to have made the Paluxy riverbed tracks covers one wall, while an updated depiction of dinosaurs in general and a pictorial geological history of the area are on other walls. It is good to see that some measures have been taken to fulfill Roland T. Bird's dream of the park becoming the scientific center of attraction it deservedly is, in addition to being a fine recreational area. In contrast, Baugh's Creation Evidences Museum, which is located nearby in a used trailer house, has become dormant despite piles of building material for future "phases" on site. This represents an almost total reversal in activity from that of 1982 to 1983 when Baugh was attracting considerable support and the park seemed destined for no foreseeable improvement (Hastings, 1985).

June 24, 1987.

Baugh announced the discovery of a "human tooth" and a "trilobite" at a new site where he had been attempting to uncover mantracks since December 1986. ("Mantracks," announced in January 1987, were not mentioned.) On local television stations from Dallas-Forth Worth, Baugh was accompanied by a new set of "scientists" authenticating the finds. The tooth, heralding the presence of "Glen Rose Man," according to the finders, was pronounced that of a female (how that was ascertained was not explained) and given the age of six million years. This age is not only unrelated to the Cretaceous marl layer sandwiched between limestone slabs, the lower of which contains most of the dinosaur tracks and all of the alleged mantracks and in which the tooth was presumably found, it is completely incompatible with the young-Earth, flood-geology cosmology espoused by Baugh in the past. Identified as a bicuspid (premolar), the tooth appeared on video to have at least a couple of cusps but seemed too elongate to be human. Only the crown was present; the root system was completely missing. It was black in appearance, as if it had been carbonized similar to the dinosaur bones Baugh found in 1984 (Hastings, 1985). Baugh claimed it to be "completely fossilized," as if lithified like any Mesozoic fossil.

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Presumably also similarly lithified, and definitely similar in coloration, was the "trilobite." What was shown was a string of black, bead-like segments bearing little resemblance to the common flattened trilobite fossil shells or to a "curled-up" trilobite fossil shell. If indeed this specimen is a trilobite, it probably is the remnants of a molt. But trilobites did not survive into the Mesozoic, and this new claim resembled Baugh's earlier trilobite claim, which was shown to be a Silurian specimen in Niagaran limestone from Illinois lost or "salted" along the Paluxy River bed near Glen Rose (Hastings, 1986).

I had had "early warning" of these claims the previous Friday, June 19, when I visited the site and talked with one of Baugh's new coworkers before the reverend arrived upon the scene. Appearing as if under a lot of duress and possibly upset over the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Louisiana creationism law announced just that morning, Baugh uncharacteristically lashed out at me, calling me an "atheist, "humanist," "infidel," and "liar," condemning me to hell one minute and wanting to "win me to the Lord" the next. He accused me of "cramming evolution down the throats of children," an amazing feat considering I teach predominantly physics, calculus, and trigonometry. He would not tell me what his "surprise" was going to be the following Wednesday, but I, of course, already knew.

Early July 1987.

In what must be seen as a pleasant surprise, Baugh took his "human" tooth to the Balcones Lab near Austin for identification. Rarely does Baugh behave so scientifically, so this action alone was to his credit. But his trip probably was indicative of his supreme confidence that he had a genuine human tooth from Cretaceous deposits, a piece of evidence that would at last "topple evolution" as his "mantracks" so miserably failed to do. Unfortunately for Baugh, once again, his evidence does not seem to merit such confidence.

Communication from paleontologist Wann Langston, Jr., states that the other fossilized teeth that Baugh brought in addition to the "human" tooth were clearly grinding teeth of pycnodonts, Mesozoic bony fish related to modern gars and bowfins. Worn-down incisors of pycnodonts, possessing a couple of cusps, would indeed have a superficial resemblance to human dentition in the eyes of the zealous and the uninformed; Baugh's "human" tooth is most likely such an incisor. Remains of pycnodonts have been found in the lower Cretaceous deposits of central Texas and, though long known, have not been widely studied. It is also known that Cretaceous precursors of the modern sheephead fish had broad incisors. Such remains in the Glen Rose limestone are compatible with the well-known lower Cretaceous ecology of a large, flat marine tidal basin upon which the dinosaurs trod at low tide. As "Nebraska Man" turned out to be a pig's tooth, it looks as if "Glen Rose Man" will turn out to be a fish's tooth.

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Conclusion

Overall, the question of "mantracks" alongside those of dinosaurs along the Paluxy River in Texas has effectively been settled. Every phenomenon claimed a human footprint has been shown to be otherwise, including the "best" of the creationist mantracks at the Taylor site. As a scientific issue, the "mantracks" definitely "died" in 1984 with the measurements Kuban and I took on a dry Taylor site and with the discovery of the colorations (Godfrey, 1985; Hastings, 1986; Kuban, 1986a, 1986b). Anything "mantrack" enthusiasts did, short of unequivocally admitting the identity of the tracks, was "beating a dead horse." The exercise in damage control that Morris and the ICR have displayed since 1985 can only be seen as a desperate attempt to salvage some semblance of scientific respectability. To me, the attempt has been a dismal failure.

The insights into dinosaur locomotion and behavior which were brought about by the colorations have been, indeed, pleasant, unexpected surprises. The pursuit of "mantracks" leading to significant advances in dinosaur ichnology illustrates nicely the excitement in science borne by unanticipated discovery. But the Paluxy "mantracks" illustrate much more for both scientists and observers of creationism.

That the "mantracks" were an important cornerstone in modern creationism cannot be denied, despite recent creationist attempts to do so (H. Morris, 1986). That the ICR is still attempting to cling to this now missing cornerstone also appears evident, as shown by the Paluxy section at the ICR museum and an ICR logo (Cole, 1986). Analogies of the Paluxy "mantracks" with Piltdown man have already begun to appear in Christian publications (Price, Wiester, and Hearn, 1986), but some of the differences between the two cases are at least as important as the similarities.

Whether Piltdown is seen as an impish prank or as a diabolical act of entrapment borne of jealousy (Gould, 1980, 1983), it cannot be seen as a tool of an extrascientific movement as can the Paluxy "mantracks." Nor can it be seen in Piltdown a reluctance to openly "blow the whistle" on colleagues when scientific problems are discovered. Though it is true that early on fellow creationists disputed the "mantrack" claims of their colleagues (Kuban, 1986a, 1986b; Price, Wiester, and Hearn, 1986), such criticism was not carried through to a resolution of the disagreements, as in the case of scientific disputes. Even in cases of very questionable behavior on the part of creationist "mantrack" seekers (Hastings, 1985), creationists visiting the "mantrack" sites seemed reluctant to criticize publicly those of their own metaphysical beliefs. They only did so privately. Such nonscientific behavior might be attributable to loyalty to a nonscientific cause, usually religious or political, in which scientific problems are perpetuated or purposely overlooked for the "higher" good of the movement. When conversing with Richard Dawkins on this subject, he reminded me of J. B. S. Haldane's reluctance to criticize Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union due to his communist sympathies.

As one of the few cases of actual creationist field research, the Paluxy "mantrack" episode will serve as a paradigm case against creationism. Its impact should remind science that ignoring pseudoscience is often unwise, and its unraveling should remind everyone that, within science, scientific investigators, even with diverse backgrounds, philosophies, and perspectives, can and do agree (Golden, 1986b).

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About the Author(s): 
Dr. Hastings is chairperson of the science department at Waxahachie, Texas, High School and was named the "Outstanding Secondary School Science Teacher of 1986" by Texas A&M's Society of Sigma Xi. Hastings has actively investigated creationist Paluxy River claims since 1982.
© 1987 by Ronnie J. Hastings
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.