The Alvis Delk human-dino footprints artefact

Ancient fossil indicating coexistence, or modern hoax?

Today’s feedback is from Michael G. from U.S.A.

Could you please analyse and comment on the Alvin Delk track in Texas. Thank you.
Alvis-Delk

CMI writer/speaker Dr Tas Walker responded:

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your question about the Alvis Delk artefact. This is a rock originally owned by Alvis Delk which contains what looks like a human footprint overlapping a dinosaur footprint. The story goes that in July 2000, at the Paluxy River in Glen Rose, Texas—an area well known for fossil dinosaur tracks—amateur archaeologist Alvis Delk discovered a slab of rock that contained a well-preserved dinosaur footprint, which he took home and kept as a souvenir. Later, in 2008, he noticed under the dried clay on the rock what appeared to be a human footprint. If this account were accurate, then it would be powerful evidence that dinosaurs and humans lived together in the past, which would have profound implications for ideas about evolution and human origins.

In 2008, Glen Kuban, a vociferous anti-creationist, published an article on the internet entitled “The Alvis Delk print: an alleged human footprint on a loose rock”, an article he updated several times through to 2013. He describes the circumstances around the alleged discovery of the apparent prints, includes images and descriptions, and discusses the morphology (shape) of the prints. Kuban claims that both the dinosaur print and the human print are not genuine but carved or heavily altered from less distinct depressions on the rock.

In April 2015, Ian Juby published an internet article on these prints entitled “Examining the Delk track”. Ian Juby is a creationist and usually careful in his treatment of evidence. He too describes the circumstances around the reported discovery of the apparent prints, includes images and descriptions, and discusses the claims and objections about them. He argues that the fossil footprints are legitimate prints of a human and a dinosaur.

We maintain that there are significant questions surrounding this artefact.

The first problem is that the rock with the tracks was not observed, photographed, and documented in situ. This is referred to as the fossil’s provenance. Recording the provenance involves documenting the context in which it was found. A fossil with a well-documented provenance may be priceless but an identical fossil with no provenance details could be worthless.

The second problem is that only single prints are present, which is a major weakness in the claim. Any footprint claim needs to locate the print within a trackway. A third problem is the long period between allegedly finding the rock with the dinosaur print and observing the ‘human’ print.

Further, the human footprint doesn’t look genuine. It is hard to envisage how a person could leave a track that is so straight from big toe to heel, even if they turned their leg inwards. Then their other toes would not leave such an impression. Also, the print appears to lack an arch, and it looks like the dino stomped in the human track but just pressed inwards without disturbing the human track in any other way. The dino print likewise looks stylised/idealised, and does not closely match genuine dinosaur prints.

The questions these problems raise can’t be answered because the contextual evidence of the rock’s provenance no longer exists. This means that the artefact has no real apologetic value.

Kuban concludes “The Alvis Delk Print is not a convincing human footprint in ancient rock. Its advocates have failed to present the necessary data and details to adequately support their assertions” and “the collective weight of several lines of evidence … point to the strong likelihood that both the ‘human footprint’ and dinosaur track on this loose slab were carved or heavily altered from less distinct depressions.”

I believe there are too many questions surrounding this artefact for it be useful as an apologetic evidence.

We mention claimed human tracks from the Paluxy River area in our article Arguments we think creationists should not use. The relevant section reads:

Paluxy tracks prove that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.” Some prominent creationist promoters of these tracks have long since withdrawn their support. Some of the allegedly human tracks may be artefacts of erosion of dinosaur tracks obscuring the claw marks. There is a need for properly documented research on the tracks before we would use them to argue the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs. Research to date has not been promising about the tracks, however—see Human and dinosaur fossil footprints in the Upper Cretaceous of North America? But this does not mean that there isn’t good evidence that dinosaurs and humans co-existed—see Q&A: Dinosaurs.

This Alvis Delk artefact has not changed our position on this because there are still too many unanswerable questions about the claim, which makes us sceptical.

All the best,

Dr Tasman Walker
Scientist, Writer, Speaker
Creation Ministries International (Australia)

Helpful Resources

Exploring Dinosaurs with Mr Hibb
by Michael Oard, Tara Wolfe, Chris Turbuck, Gary Bates
From
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Guide to Dinosaurs
by Brian Thomas and Tim Clarey
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Hard cover
Dinosaurs by Design
by Duane T Gish
US $16.00
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Dragons or Dinosaurs?
by Darek Isaacs
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Dinosaur Challenges and Mysteries
by Michael Oard
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Readers’ comments

Michael S.
Just an important disclaimer for disappointed fellow creationists. Remember Dr sarfati's brilliant explanation of the argument from silence. If we find evidence of dinos and humans together, it follows as good evidence they were contemporaneous, but if we don't find evidence of them together, only an argument from silence follows or, "denial of the antecedent fallacy". We have to remember there are lots of animals that exist today and had to exist contemporaneously with humans in the past but there isn't any evidence as such, that they did exist together even though we know they must have.

So basically I would say, we as creationists certainly don't DEPEND on dino/human tracks. It should also be noted there have been what seem to be genuine human tracks beyond the age humans exist, such as the Laetoli footprints and other more recent discoveries and evolutionists use the rhetorical device, "playing it down" by calling them, "human like", but the fact is the human foot is unique and has only ever been found to belong to humans. (Lol) If I remember correctly, CMI may have an article or two covering this.
Revd W.
We have to realize that mankind and great lizards did live together; as the layers in which we find the evidence for this were all laid down at the same time, one on top of the other, but not one after the other, as we see in river estuaries today. The thought that water only lays down one substance, at one time, over millions of years, and then another substance, over millions of years, is surely unbelievable: for it would mean that water only carried one substance for these huge periods of time; which is clearly absurd. No: water lays down all substances at the same time; because it carries all kinds of substances at the same time: they simply self-segregate into distinct layers by a natural process as the flow of the water lessens. So: fossils found in different and distinct layers neither proves long-time periods, nor the belief that they lived at different times. Hence dinosaurs and men - and all fossils - once lived at the same time and in the like environment, before being swept away, and then deposited, in the huge layers of a great flood. Any suggestions as to what this great flood was? Genesis gives the answer; and so does natural science too.
Nathaniel W.
How likely do you think it is that there might be evidence found some day showing dinosaur and human footprints that could be used as an apologetic evidence?
Tas Walker
I think it is possible. It may already exist but have been dismissed by being misinterpreted.
Don G.
I remember years ago seeing a video about the Paluxy River prints, and the critics' claim that a hoaxster had simply chiselled human prints into a dinosaur print. The video maker said the proper test of this was to see if there are more human prints in the direction it was going; so he (on the video) got a tractor with a front-end loader to lift up the bank ahead of where the print was headed. He showed the human footprints continued under the undisturbed rock! That seemed like pretty conclusive proof to me, but I don't have a copy of the video nor know who made it. Anyone know who made it, and have a copy?
Kirk B.
The evolutionists can claim much from paltry appearances to support their story, but creationists cannot.
Doug L.
No one can really say with absolute certainty that the Delk print is either genuine or fake. But some of the things mentioned in the article seem to be irrelevant, such as the lack of a distinct arch or the likelihood of the human print being made just the way we see it. For example, there are all sorts of variants in human feet, so being flatfooted is no reason to discount the print.

But what does seem most relevant is the CT scan evidence presented by Juby. That is far more compelling than any argument against the validity of the prints. I've read two articles on this, one by Walker and the other by Silvestru, and both of them fail to bring up any refutation of the CT scan evidence. For my money, the prints should be taken as genuine.

Ok, I'm no paleontologist but the "provenance" of the rock also seems irrelevant. That really only concerns its location, not its validity! I don't care where it was found, by whom, or when. If it's a genuine footprint, not carved or created by someone, then it proves dinosaur and man lived at the same time. The CT scan evidence presented by Juby, along with the other careful analyses he did, seems to vastly outweigh all the other objections. Until someone fairly addresses those arguments I have to side with Ian Juby and Carl Baugh and assume it's real. I keep an open mind but the criticisms seem very weak.
Tony F.
The book Dire Dragons by Vance Nelson gives great evidence for coexistence of man and various dinosaurs through ancient and medieval art from around the world.
Alf F.
If this fossil were an ancient document, the rules state that we ought to believe the book unless there is clear evidence or proof that we should not. Don G's comment is therefore pertinent.
1) Unless someone can conclusively prove that the Delk fossil has recently been ground, chiselled or otherwise tampered with, we must believe what it obviously says to us.
2) The human footprint is just what one would expect when someone arcs down their big toe in anticipation of standing on a possible sharp object under the mud/sand, or in the case of a woman or child, when standing lightly on objectionable mud.
3) The raised portion of the midfoot on the non-arch side is a result of the dino-footprint, quite in keeping all round with the perceived depth of the mud, a shallowish deposit on a harder substrate. To have manufactured this took real insight, artistry and a willingness to destroy a nice fossil find.
4) The human print is identical to many I see on our beaches today; many of my South African brethren having even flatter and rounder, never mind straight, foot prints, with no arch present underfoot. I myself have flat feet, with little arch at all even on hard ground, despite an active lifestyle of sport and outdoor pursuits.
5) It should be relatively easy to check and see if the particular type of dino-footprint as in Delk is further represented in the area. If so, dino-footprint case closed, apart from the "provenance"factor, which can then be sorted by showing that the rock is of the same composition etc as that of Paluxy. That leaves only the human footprint as an issue, and I have a recollection of a video such as mentioned by Don G. An on-site inspection will clear up the truth of that in minutes, I think, so why go around guessing?
Philip R.
In response to Don G., you would have seen the Films For Christ movie, Footprints In Stone. Filming a front end loader exposing fresh footprints did prove that the footprints were not faked. However, it is genuine impressions such as these that Tas' response refers to as possibly being poorly-eroded dinosaur tracks.

Possibly CMI is erring a bit too much on the side of caution here, but erring on the side of caution is a prudent thing to do.
Alf F.
Is this indeed another Piltdown man?
We would need real proof to call Alvis Delk a liar and a fraud.
Stephen D.
Is there any fossils of humans and dinosaurs together? I thought there were mass graveyards of dinosaurs?
Tas Walker
I'm not aware of fossils of dinosaurs and humans being found together, but it would not surprise me that this may be found one day. However, there is much historical evidence that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time. See Dire Dragons by Vance Nelson. Yes there are many so-called dinosaur graveyards (e.g. Dinosaur herd buried in Noah’s Flood in Inner Mongolia, China).
Darryl M.
Tas, hello from way back when. Interesting reading in this issue. Question - isn’t there a method for determining how long a rock has been exposed to gamma rays etc.? If so it might help with the fossil footprint issue.
Tas Walker
Hi Darryl, It's good to hear from you. Thermoluminescence is a method that works on time of exposure to sunlight and that may be useful (see box in article The dating game). I'm not aware of any such measurements being made on the rock.
Nathan G.
Being prudent is important, however, it is largely irrelevant when dealing with the upper echelons of the high priesthood of evolution. Their minds are closed to anything which contradicts their pseudo-scientific cult. Nothing will convince them of the falsehood of their beliefs, because they have ulterior motives for not wanting to believe. It might be their lifestyle, status, autonomy, power, etc. You know, all the stuff they accuse other religions of without presenting any scientific proof.

At the middle level of the priesthood (teachers and "educated" adults) it is unpredictable as to whether they are open to other evidence or not. Some are, some aren't. Some want to talk, others want to fight or demean you. It's a mixed bag at this level.

Kids on the other hand generally want to know. Even "atheists" in my classes listen very attentively and actively take place in discussions about science and pseudo-science. This is the only place that most people can make a personal difference, since we aren't all Ph.D. scientists or top-level celebrities.

I would like to point out that deep time remains the weak spot in evo armor. Christians often let a debate be dominated exclusively by the question at hand, for example one footprint. They forget questions like: What about human bones in South Carolina phosphate rock dated millions of years old? Live, hibernating toads in rock allegedly 300 million years old found when building the Erie Canal? Bannf Park's older rocks on top of younger rocks? Carbon-14 in coal? By doing so, we let evos pull a sleight-of-hand trick similar to the hand-waving fallacy. Don't look so close that you totally forget to look back at the big picture!
Strat G.
Wow! I didn't think I would ever have anything to add to the (mountain of) evidence for the Biblical account of creation, but I was in Texas in 2000 and visited Dinosaur Park. There had been a significant drought and my wife and I drove to the park and heard that a couple of weeks earlier, human footprints had been discovered alongside some of the dinosaur prints. We got permission from a landowner to walk through his yard to the river, where we were told the site was, and sure enough, there they were in all their splendor.

I thought it was going to be hailed as one of the most significant proofs for the Biblical creation account, but alas, time went by and I never heard anything about it. I just now looked it up and read the above article. I'm glad to announce that the writer's conclusion is erroneous. Not only was I there to see the many dinosaur and numerous human footprints side by side, but I walked in them and videotaped them. (Their paths were almost perpendicular but as the photo above shows, they were both heading slightly in the same direction.)

I have the video and look forward to sharing it to help validate Alvin Delk's find. The toe prints of the human footprints were clear. If I remember correctly, they also had arches. I don't believe for a second that they were from dinosaurs or falsified. They were unmistakably human. One thing that stood out to me however, was that they were very large- possibly up to 16 inches in length. (I'll find my video and confirm that measurement.) The Bible says, "There were giants on the earth in those days." (Genesis 6:4) God's Word is true.

I hope my video will help clear up the misunderstanding about Mr. Delk's find. I will get the video (currently on VHS-C) put onto a digital format so I can easily share it.
Tas Walker
Yes, there were trackways at Paluxy where the impressions resembled human prints, but there were features about those prints that were abnormal for a human interpretation. As you indicate, the print size was remarkably large and the stride length long, hence the reference to them being made by giants. However, we have seen images where the end of each print had three toe depressions, which seems unusual for human prints. An alternative interpretation, one that seems compelling, is that the impressions were made by the theropod dinosaurs walking ‘flat-footed’ (heels down) rather than on the balls of their feet (on their toes). In that case they would leave a track in which the central depression has a similar shape to a human footprint but with three toe prints. If you would like to send in your video when you have put it into digital format we would be interested in seeing it.


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