Ian Juby vs Hugh Ross on the Paluxy River Tracks

Ross's claims on paluxy tracks and polystrate fossils.

Had a reader write in, asking about a video circulating on the internet.  The video is by "progressive creationist" (read: theistic evolutionist with a fancy new name) Hugh Ross, and was a segment of the Q&A session on one of his videos.

Now, I gotta be honest with yas here: Much as I would like to be respectful, it is exceedingly difficult in this case.  If I may make an analogy, it's like trying torespectfully disagree with someone who claimed that a bunny rabbit ate a moose whole.  How do you refute such a person without using the words that come to mind? Y'know - words like "lunatic," "out of his tree," and "you gotta be joking!"

Such is the case with Ross's claims in this video segment, which you can watch on their website so you can hear it straight from the horse's mouth:


or on youtube:


The Paluxy Tracks:

Ross starts off by addressing the fossil human footprints found amongst dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy riverbed, Glen Rose, Texas.  Of course, this happens to be one of my areas of expertise.  Now in defense of Ross, he simply repeated the mantra that has been running around the internet, the "research" of Glen Kuban.  You'll see shortly why I have "research" in quotes.

The knee-jerk reaction of most skeptics toward the Paluxy human tracks is "It's a carving!"  This simply does not hold water, as the majority of the human tracks were uncovered from underneath a hard layer of limestone, typically between 12 and 18 inches thick.  So the claim that they are carvings sets the hogwash-o-meter® on fire.

If they're not carvings, then what are they? Enter Kuban.

Kuban, like so many other evolutionists, is desperate to "prove" that they are not human footprints. After all, 'as we all know,' dinosaurs became extinct at least 60 million years before humans had evolved.  So finding human footprints together with dinosaur tracks would thoroughly destroy the theory of evolution, and would validate the literal reading of the young-earth creation account in Genesis.

The one trail most prominently in question is called the Taylor trail, a series of 14 dinosaur tracks in a right/left/right/left sequence, after which a human walked in the dinosaur's footprints.  These dinosaur tracks appear in displaced mud (now hardened into rock) as a red stain, appearing and fading in response to the acidity of the water or other environmental factors.  Kuban claims that the dinosaur tracks were made by a dinosaur walking on its heels, and thus the back of the dinosaur heel leaves an impression resembling a human heel. The mud surrounding the dinosaur's toe impressions collapses (without filling in the heel part), leaving a depression having a vague resemblance to a human footprint.  Then those silly creationists come along and mistakenly claim that the human-shaped depressions are actually fossil human footprints.

Read it yourself, straight from the Kuban's website.

There are so many problems with Kuban's theory it's difficult to know where to begin.  The dinosaur tracks of the Taylor trail have a clear halux visible, which makes a pointed heel - as seen in the cast of -3B track below, and not a rounded heel as depicted in Kuban's pretty (and misleading) drawing showing a dinosaur walking on its heel. (The Taylor trail tracks are assigned identifying numbers and letters; i.e., -3, -3b, -3a, -2, -1, 1, 2, etc...)

While I have no problem with the suggestion that a dinosaur walked on its heels (this is visible in dinosaur trackways elsewhere in the world), the Taylor trail dinosaur tracks themselves do not match the tracks of a dinosaur walking on its heels.  

Further to that, the human footprints change position within the dinosaur tracks as you go down the trail:

Outlines of sample tracks in the Taylor trail. Cross-hatched outline is the human footprint, dark outline marks the dinosaur track.

The human tracks change position in each of the dinosaur tracks as you go down the trail, and therefore cannot be the heel impressions of the dinosaur tracks.

To claim that the human tracks were actually the heel impressions of the dinosaur would mean that the dinosaur's heel was dislocated, so that it changed position as it walked!  Then apparently (as you see when you get to the +6 human track) the dinosaur's heel fell off and made its own track in another trail!  Sometimes the human tracks overlap the dinosaur tracks...so much for the heel theory.  

Some of the human footprints have beautifully preserved toe impressions as well (like the -3B, shown above).  Did the dinosaur foot somehow, miraculously, produce beautiful, anatomically correct toe impresions in the human footprint?

If one continues on up the trail, eventually you get to the human track called the +6.  The +6 is also in a dinosaur track, but it's a dinosaur track from a different dinosaur and a different trail, going in the opposite direction.

Dinosaur track from the Taylor trail marked in yellow on right, dinosaur track from the "Judkins trail" on left into which the human stepped (marked in blue), making the +6 human track in the Taylor trail

Thus, the human heel is in the left toe of the JT dinosaur track, and the human toes are in the JT dinosaur heel impression.  Notice also that the JT dinosaur track does leave a rounded heel impression (it's from a different dinosaur), whereas the TT dinosaur track leaves a pointed heel, contrary to Kuban's assertion that the TT dinosaur tracks were from a dinosaur walking on its heels.  Some toe impressions are actually visible in the +6 human footprint.  So much for the dinosaur heel/human heel theory - the tracks are backwards to each other, and the human foot impression is in the left toe of the dinosaur track, not the center area as Kuban's theory suggests.  To boot, the dino track containing the +6 is the only that track in JT dinosaur trail (tentatively named the Judkins trail after Dr. Aaron Judkins) that has a human footprint in it!

So what did he see?

This brings us to some very serious questions.  For someone like Kuban, who has spent oodles of time specifically studying the red stain of the TT dinosaur tracks, and making such a fuss of the red stains, one has to wonder: Did Kuban not see the red stain of the JT dinosaur track that the +6 is in?  If he didn't see something so obviouswhat other pieces of critical evidence did he miss?  If he did see it, then why did he not document it and tell his readers about it?

Look at his website for yourselfhis map marks the +6 human track, but his drawing does not even resemble what the human track actually looks like, itdoes include the toe impressions of the JT dinosaur track in question (leading me to conclude that he also indeed knows the facts I'm sharing here), and does not include the trail of dinosaur tracks into which the +6 has stepped.  

The +6 track alone completely destroys Kuban's theory.  But this is the typical quality of claims and "research."  His attempts at explaining away the Zuiyo Maru cryptid (an apparently plesiasaur-like carcass caught by a japanese fishing trawler), were just as outlandish, and I dealt with these in part 9 of the Complete Creation video series.

Over and over again, I have seen how Kuban's "research" simply cannot be trusted, yet he continues to parrot these (and many other) "just so" stories, to the joy of many an anti-creationist, and in this case, to the purposes of Ross who really needs to do his homework.

But let's not stop there, because the claim that the human tracks are actually strangely eroded dinosaur tracks is also repeated at dinosaur valley state park, with the very cynical cartoon displayed on one of their interpretive plaques:

Evolutionist's best explanation for dinosaur tracks and human tracks found together.

The Upper Taylor Platform, +4 track, overlay shows dino
track highlighted in yellow, human track in blue 
Photo courtesy Dr. Don Patton, bible.ca/tracks

Dinosaur track raised by differential erosion in the paluxy river bed, near the Taylor trail location.
Anyone who has spent any time in the Paluxy will note that the human tracks erode differently than the dinosaur tracks.  For instance, on the trail known as the Upper Taylor Platform, the +4 track is a beautiful human footprint, complete with impressions of all five toes, the ball, arch and heel of the human footprint, overstepping the heel of another dinosaur track.  The rock in the dinosaur track is harder than that of the human track, and thus erosion over time has eroded the human footprint into a depression, while raising the dinosaur track.  This differential erosion proves quite conclusively that the human and dinosaur tracks are indeed separate.

The human tracks are not "strangely eroded dinosaur tracks."

An excellent book, recently released as a second edition, is available.  "Texas tracks and artifacts" is an exhaustive review of the evidence by Helfinstine & Roth, I highly recommend it.

Leviathan and Behemoth?

Of course Ross then has to explain away the apparent references to dinosaurs alive at the time of Job, Behemoth and Leviathan (Job chapters 40 & 41).  Sadly, Ross's exegesis (reading of the scriptures and interpreting it by the scriptures) is always pretty bad.  Again, I'm not trying to be mean, rude or disrespectful, it's just that there really is no nice way to say it.  He essentially claims that Job 40 & 41 are allegorical, and that these creatures were only the hippopotomus and the crocodile.  A point worth noting is that he mentions the number of times allegorical statements are made, using words such as "like."  However, read the chapters yourself.


The Lord is not making an allegory here.  The Hippopotomus does not have a tail "like" a cedar tree.  The description is clearly that of a large, dinosaur-like creature.

Leviathan is clearly a fire-breathing creature - again this was not allegory, read it yourself.  Crocodiles do not shoot out sparks, make the sea boil, etc...  The creature is an unknown one, dinosaur like, but certainly not a crocodile.  And yes, it is possible that one of the dinosaurs could breath something like fire.  The bombadier beetle can shoot sparks when it fires its "canon" in self defense, so why not a dinosaur?  I'll save that for another day though, as you all can do a search on the internet and find loads of info on the bombadier beetle.  I gotta keep this short and deal with the discussion at hand.

An excellent page dealing with these issues in more detail.  

Polystrate trees & Mythbusters®

Ross then ventures into another one of my areas of expertise: Polystrate fossils - namely, polystrate trees.  The term "polystrate" comes from poly (for many) and Strate (for strata of rock layers); the tree goes through many rock layers.  I've studied polystrate trees first hand all overNova Scotia and New Brunswick, Colorado and New Mexico, Tennessee and Wyoming.  I've also been able to study the documentation of multiple other polystrate tree sites such as those in the Alaskan coal mines and Axel Heiberg Island of the Canadian high arctic (of which I have some wood samples in my museum collection).

Ross then goes out on a limb to claim that these fossil trees weren't buried upright in a catastrophic flow or flood, but instead proposes an out-of-this-world theory that a meteor impact drove the fossilized trees up through the rock layers.  (ACK!)  He makes an analogy to straw being driven through tree trunks by tornados.

Well, first of all, Ross needs to watch more Mythbusters®.  Specifically, episode 61, "Deadly straw," where they busted the myth that a straw can go through a tree trunk.  It is possible that a tornado can drive straw into a piece of wood far enough that it can stick, but the incidents of straw going through a tree has to do with the bending and twisting of a tree trunk, which splits it temporarily, the straw gets blown through the split, and the tree bends/twists back, thereby closing the split and giving the appearance that the straw went through the tree.

This is very rare, but I have heard rumours of this happening. 

Even if the myth had been proven true, this has nothing to do with a fossil tree being driven up through layers!  I cannot express in words (at least not politely) my shock and awe that Ross would make such an out-of-this-world suggestion.  Ross has evidently never seen a single polystrate fossil tree in his life - otherwise he would know better than to make such crazy suggestions.  First off, most of the polystrate fossil "trees" are not trees at all, but giant, hollow reeds!  The trunk of these trees consists of a tube of woody material, with walls typically on the order of two centimeters thick or less, and a tube diameter of up to a meter.

Now how would you drive said fossil tree trunk up through rock layers without utterly destroying it?  And you would have to drive that trunk up through over 7 meters of rock layers, as is seen in this image of one polystrate lycopod trunk at Joggins, Nova Scotia. (Photo right, click on the image to see the full-resolution picture)

Further to that, many of these trunks have intact root systems.  How did these trunks get driven up through rock layers without stripping off the roots?  (see this picture here)  Also, visible within those cross cut layers are features called VISS's (Vegetation Induced Sedimentary Structures).  This is acknowledged even in the evolutionary literature.  Basically, as the flow of water went around the tree, it changed how the dirt was deposited around the tree.  For example (photo below), at Tennessee, you can see how the layers appear to "bend" uphill and thicken.  This is from the flow of water (right to left) which accelerates as it splits to go around the tree, thus picking up the dirt on the right side.  As the water comes back together on the left side, it slows down, and drops it dirt, thus making a thicker layer on the left side of the tree.

Polystrate lycopod in Tennessee showing VISS and crossbedding,

both caused by flows from right to left in photo

Out of this world

Again, I'm sorry - I don't want to be disrespectful, but you can begin to see why I struggle so with writing this response.  How can I write it politely?  All of these suggestions, intended to explain away powerful young-earth evidence, are preposterous.  I respectfully disagree sirs: a bunny rabbit most certainly did not eat a moose whole.  The paluxy tracks line up with the Biblical account that dinosaurs lived with humans, refutes the evolutionary dogma, and demonstrates that the earth is young.  Polystrate fossils are a powerful line of evidence that the rock layers we see around the world do not represent deep time, but a catastrophe known as Noah's flood.

Source: Ian Juby's CrEvo Newsletter