Those Mysterious Glen Rose "Man Tracks"
By Edward C. Lain
In 1967, Robert E. Gentet called my attention to rumors of human footprints having been found alongside those of dinosaurs near Glen Rose, Texas. After a trip to the area, he and others had found only fake human footprints. [See report] The earliest account we had of similar tracks appeared in Natural History magazine, May, 1939, in the article, "Thunder In His Foot Steps" by Roland T. Bird.
I had decided that there was no further use in looking for those tracks, based on Mr. Gentet's 1967 report. However, during a trip to Texas in 1968, my wife [Fig. 1] was convinced that there was more to the story than met the eye. She turned out to be correct.
Upon reaching Farm Road 205, we turned towards Glen Rose. Suddenly my wife hit the brakes and exclaimed, "There they are." She had spotted a sign reading: "Giant Man Tracks" [Fig. 2]. Turning in at the sign we found ourselves on Mr. and Mrs. Emmett McFall’s farm. When we asked Mr. and Mrs. McFall about the "man tracks," they informed us that the tracks were under water, as it had been raining constantly for some time.
However, Mrs. McFall brought out a cast of a footprint that had been found in the bed of the Paluxy River. I was astonished at the accuracy of the print. I kept examining the track as I was still in doubt that it had been found alongside those of dinosaur tracks. Finally, Mrs. McFall volunteered the information that the man who found the track admitted having "worked" on the toes to make them appear human. Once again, another fake.
Thus began several years of research on these mysterious tracks, lasting from 1968-1972, then, a final trip in 1977. The McFall's directed us to the farm of Zollie Wilkins, which is now Dinosaur Valley State Park, where we saw many dinosaur tracks. Mr. Wilkins pointed out what he called a human footprint. First of all, this track was only an oddly shaped erosion, not a genuine track. In addition, it was located in a level that was above the bed of the river which contained the dinosaur tracks. Not only was it an oddity of nature and not a genuine footprint but it was not found in the river bed along with the dinosaur tracks.
After visiting friends and relatives in East Texas, we returned to Glen Rose and examined everything that was called a "man track" including what became known as the "Taylor Trail" but all were dinosaur tracks of one kind or another. As for the "Taylor Trail," my wife and I examined very closely all the tracks which numbered about 14 at that time. One could easily distinguish three claw marks in many of the tracks. In others, the mud had either run back into the claw marks or no evidence of claws were left depending upon the consistency of the mud. We found nothing that could legitimately be called human footprints in the bed of the river bed along with those of dinosaurs.
We returned to Glen Rose the following year and became acquainted with the late Stan Taylor (after whom the "Taylor Trail" is named) and who produced the movie: Footprints In Stone. Due to overwhelming evidence against any of the tracks shown in the movie being human, this movie was later removed from circulation.
By 1970, we had become acquainted with most of the folk involved in the "man track" story including Mr. Charlie Moss. He is recognized as the first person to see the sauropod tracks exposed after the 1908 flood.
Mr. Moss believed the sauropod tracks to be those of an elephant. When my wife and I interviewed him in 1968, he still believed them to be elephant tracks and so informed us.
Mr. Moss had told Mr. Gentet and others with him the previous year that he had seen a string of human footprint that were subsequently washed away in 1918 Paluxy River flood. Other residents also observed these impressions and believed them to be human. However, later investigations proved all these impressions to either be works of nature or those of an unknown dinosaur.
It must be kept in mind, too, that during the '20s and '30s Darwin and his evolutionary views were regarded with contempt by folk of the South, often referred to as "the Bible Belt." Dinosaurs, elephants and humans being contemporaneous did not seem to be unusual to these folk.
We were suspected of being government agents and so people involved with the tracks were reluctant to open up to us. However, by that year they were convinced that we were no threat. As a result, Mrs. Jacob McFall(daughter-in-law of Emmett McFall) asked if we would like to meet the man who made the original man track that started all the claims of finding human footprints alongside those of dinosaurs. We, of course, eagerly jumped at the opportunity.
Mrs. Mc Fall introduced us to Mr. Weldon Eakin who graciously invited us into his home and told us the whole story. In 1908, a horrendous flood in the Paluxy River ripped up huge chunks of overlying material and exposed a large number of dinosaur tracks. They were so fresh, Mr. Eakin told us, that one could see the veins in the feet. However, there were absolutely no human tracks among those of dinosaur footprints, according to Mr. Eakin who grew up in the area.
What, then, started the search for human footprints in the bed of the Paluxy River among those of dinosaur tracks? Mr. Eakin explained that during the depression years of the 1930s, he and others made replicas of human, dinosaur and saber tooth tiger tracks and sold them to the public in order to earn money. One day, his father-in-law, George Adams, suggested they carve a human footprint in the bed of the Paluxy River beside a genuine three-toed dinosaur track. Mr. Eakin used his father-in-law’s foot as a pattern. So, while Mr. Adams sat up on the river bank as lookout and made "genuine Indian arrow heads" to sell to tourists, Mr. Eakin chiseled out a human footprint beside a real dinosaur track.
Later, according to Mr. Eakin, someone found his handiwork and cut out the whole block of limestone containing both tracks. We tried to find out what ultimately happened to that block of limestone but were never able to locate it. I do not know if it still exists. That, said Mr. Eakin, was the only human footprint associated with a dinosaur track found in the Paluxy River bed.
Folks began coming to Glen Rose looking for similar evidence of human footprints found with dinosaur tracks. Mr. Eakin told us that, at first, he tried to tell folk that there had never been a genuine human footprint found with those of dinosaurs in the bed of the Paluxy River but they didn't believe him. After a while, he told us, he became afraid that he would get into trouble so went "to ground" and said no more about his handiwork.
Mr. Eakin had one "man track" left that he had chiseled into a slab of limestone. His father-in-law took it and hid it, being afraid that Mr. Eakin and himself might get into serious trouble. Years later, while puttering around in his garden, Mr. Eakin, found the buried footprint. He took it to a local business and sold it.
It would be nice to say the story ends here. However, some still insist they have found human footprints in the bed of the Paluxy River in association with dinosaur tracks. This raises the question: did dinosaurs leave impressions in the bed of the Paluxy River that resembled human footprints? The answer is an emphatic "yes!"
My wife and I examined a number of these tracks (Fig. 3). At the cost of $100, Jacob McFall in the early 70s, offered to sell us one he had cut out of the river bed and had hidden under the hay in his barn. There was no question that it was a genuine track as it had a pressure ridge around it and had impressions for a heel, arch and ball of the foot. However, what was supposed to be the big toe was in the middle of the foot.
Jacob showed us where he had cut the track out of the river bed. There were numerous dinosaur tracks all around and this one so-called "man track" was found among these dinosaur tracks. One would have to envision a one-legged human being hopping among a herd of dinosaurs! That, of course, is absurd to the extreme. Instead, this track is another dinosaur track, somewhat deformed. I state emphatically that there have never been any genuine human footprints found in the bed of the Paluxy River in association with dinosaur tracks. For more detailed information concerning these supposed man-tracks, I refer you to the excellent research done by Glen Kuban.