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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Human footprints from 250 million years ago? Ian Juby follows up on a mystery from the 1930's, and another Delk situation is discerned.

Mini-vacation for us, so three Ian Juby videos and a well-argued look back at some human footprints found in "ancient" stone. Go Ian!







Note:  You can subscribe to Ian's you tubes, get his newsletter and of course peruse his previous articles by going to his website.   That is, if you want to hear some real science for a change rather than the Darwinist propaganda that relentlessly pounds away at you from the television, magazines, secular scientific outlets and academia in general?  

Special report #1: The strange fossil footprints of Berea, Kentucky

Several years back, with the help of friends in high places,  I had managed to track down (pun intended) an article from 1940 documenting the Berea, Kentucky fossil human footprints in Carboniferous rocks. Allegedly 250 million years old, fossil footprints in such rock are a huge problem for evolutionists who claim that humans had not evolved until the last 500,000 years or so, and our allegedly ancient hominid ancestors some 5  million years ago.

These footprints had been cited by creationists for years, and fossil human footprints being one of my specialties, I of course wanted to follow up on it.  The article was in Scientific American, January issue.  It contained four photos of which I took one quick glance, and with disappointment said "Nope, those are carvings, not genuine fossil footprints."

In fact, it was this very article from which many of you will have undoubtedly heard the quote by author Albert Ingalls, saying:

"If man, or even his ape ancestor, or even that ape ancestor's early mammalian ancestor, existed as far back as in the Carboniferous Period in any shape, then the whole science of geology is so wrong that all the geologists will resign their jobs and take up truck driving.
Hence, for the present at least, science rejects the attractive explanation that man made these mysterious prints in the mud of the Carboniferous Period with his feet."

Apparently I was not the only one to reject the Berea tracks as carvings, based on the photos provided in SciAm. The story that unfolded over the next year surprised me.  A gentleman I had met via the internet, David Willis, had wanted to go to Berea to investigate these tracks.  David turned out to be an incredible sleuth, finding out all kinds of details about the tracks and the archives at the college in Berea, as well as another alleged fossil human footprint in Tennessee which I had only seen on television.
I was in Ohio in 2009, and had a couple of days to spare before heading back to Canada. David's schedule also permitted him time, so we set out to Berea.

Professor Burroughs was the gentleman who originally studied the Berea tracks. A geologist who founded the geology department and taught at Berea college, there is now a small museum named after him in the college. I would dare say that little museum is well worth the visit.  http://www.berea.edu/geologymuseum/
Burroughs began his study of the tracks in 1930.   These footprints were so remarkably human, that  upon suggestion and discussion with Dr. Frank Thone (Science Service, an organization for the popularization of science associated with the Smithsonian)  he gave the tracks the latin name "Phenanthropus mirabilis," which means "looks human; remarkable."


The "fossil tracks" that appeared in January 1940 Scientific American, page 14.  Interpreted to be the Berea, Kentucky tracks by talkorigins.org.

When one looks at the photos provided in the SciAm article, one begins to wonder what drugs Burroughs and Thone were on to give such a name to tracks that do not look human... and so the first surprise came to light when David and I went through the correspondence and photographic archives at the college.  With the exception of the upper left "track" in the images above, *none* of the SciAm images even vaguely resembled the Berean footprints.  In fact, reading the first paragraph of the SciAm article carefully, one can read between the lines that they admit the photographs are not the Berean tracks!


"On sites reaching from Virginia and Pennsylvania, through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and westward toward the Rocky Mountains, prints similar to those shown above, and from 5 to 10 inches long, have from time to time been found on the surface of exposed rocks, and more and more keep turning up as the years go by."
(emphasis mine)
Notice that they did not say where these particular tracks were found? Notice that they never claimed these tracks were the Berean footprints?  The photograph credit was given to F.R. Johnston.  Who on earth is F.R. Johnston?  We have no idea - because Johnston's name appears nowhere in any of the boxes of correspondence we looked at in the archives at Berea college.  All photographs of the Berea tracks were taken by a local professional photographer by the name of Coleman Ogg of Ogg studios, located right in Berea, whom Borroughs hired to photograph the tracks.

We found a copy of the SciAm article in Burrough's archives, complete with his disdainful comments on the bottom of the page:

(Photo used with Permission from the Berea College archives www.berea.edu)

The photographs were not of the Berea tracks, that much was clear. But it would appear that Burroughs did recognize the tracks depicted in the SciAm photos as he complained that Bushnell "did not visit these tracks." (emphasis mine)
In fact, in his typical die-hard sleuth fashion that would make Columbo proud, David continued to pursue further information on the whereabouts of the Berea tracks presently, and also obtained Dr. Gilmore's correspondence from the Smithsonian.  In his correspondence with Gilmore, Burroughs sent a photograph of what he called "Indian carvings" he had examined about 30 miles away from the Berea track site.  It would appear that somehow the photos that wound up in the SciAm article were of the "Indian carvings" found some 30 miles from the fossil human footprints, which Burroughs had also visited at one point and had determined were Indian carvings (petroglyphs) not tracks.

What we can say is that in all the photographs that David and I examined, as well as pencil rubbings of the Berea tracks, maps, and casts, we saw NO tracks that resembled the photos in the SciAm article.  At no place at the Berea site were three tracks found side by side. The toes of the Berea prints most certainly did not look like the toes in the second, third and fourth SciAm images, and the middle inset image (the first image shown in the group above) only vaguely resembles the Berea tracks (and appears to be lacking the fifth toe, which the Berea tracks did not). 

The images depicted in the SciAm article are
not the Berea tracks in question.

As if that wasn't scandalous enough, the Christian Science Monitor also ran a report which contained no photographs of the Berea tracks, but a pencil rubbing of a pair of the tracks, and a fossil trail of amphibian tracks from some unknown location! 

Photographs from Creation Science Monitor, Aug 31, 1938, pg 2, captioned "Upper: Photograph of footprints of a prehistoric creature appearing in solid sandstone on a Kentucky farm. Each foot has five toes, the foot-prints being 9-1/2 inches long and 6 inches across the toes.  Darkened area is due to film of oil left on rock after cast of footprints was made. Lower: Photograph of "rubbings" of footprints of one of the prehistoric creatures that left imprints of left and right feet where it stood in damp sand that later hardened into sandstone.  Note arch and five toes of each foot."

The errors are glaring: The upper photograph is of a pencil rubbing of a pair of the Berea human tracks (the original pencil rubbing is one of several in the Berea college archives that David and I saw), the lower image is a photograph of fossil amphibian tracks.  There is no darkened area caused by film of oil, because the upper image was a pencil rubbing, not the actual fossil.  There was still a copy of the press release photo in the Berea archives (left), as well as several original pencil rubbings (click on image for larger size):

(Photos used with Permission from the Berea College archives www.berea.edu)

Burroughs pointed out the glaring errors and flagrant misinformation contained in the reports in his correspondence with others.


The Scandal:
The scandalous nature of the reporting of the Berea tracks alone should raise a few eyebrows.  Both the SciAm and the Christian Science Monitor articles contained photos implied (or outrightly stated) to be photographs of the Berea tracks which were not the Berea tracks.  Both articles interviewed "experts" who then gave their "professional opinion" on the tracks depicted in the non-Berean footprint photographs appearing in the articles.  The CSM article even went to the trouble of depicting ten footprints in the amphibian tracks - the number matching the count of the Berean tracks at that time.  It would be gracious to call this horrible journalism or gross error.  It is probably more accurate to refer to the reports as fraudulent.
Ingalls mentioned that "science" had rejected the human footprint explanation. Actually, scientists of evolutionary persuasion had rejected that interpretation.  Their reasons were the same, vacuous reasons I hear regularly when people wish to dismiss profound evidence of man in "old" rock layers. 

In fact, reading through Burrough's private correspondence was quite enlightening, as in almost every instance Burroughs was very careful to always refer to the tracks as "human like." A letter to Borroughs from Waldemar Kaempffert, Science Editor of the New York Times, read "Dear Sir: The footprints to which you refer in your letter of recent date are probably not human in origin. There is not the slightest fossil evidence that Man was known in this country back of the last Ice Age.  Faithfully yours, (signature of Kaempffert)." (dated January 27, 1938. Burroughs noted he wrote back on January 31, 1938)

Burrough's response was probably the only time he wrote so emphatically: "They are P O S I T I V E L Y human footprints - brought to view thru erosion of millions of years." Burroughs invited Kaempffert to come see the tracks for himself, but it is unknown whether Kaempffert ever took him up on the offer.

Kaempffert's response, as well as that of Ingalls, smacks of the typical argumentation which I presented in the second pilot episode of Genesis Week, starting at the 7:37 mark:
http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=7k0B80oJlQw#t=7m37s

What is the evidence?
So what then is the evidence?  The tracks were found in a ledge of rock that was part of the Pottsville formation sandstone.  This is one of the original photos of the site straight from Dr. Burrough's archives:


Click on image to view larger image.
(Photo used with Permission from the Berea College archives www.berea.edu)

David and I both obtained wax castings of the Berea tracks from the Berea college museum, and two of these tracks are now part of the new "fossil human footprints" exhibit in my traveling creation museum.  See "upcoming exhibitions" down below for more details on how you can see these tracks for yourself.


A single footprint from Berea.  Notice the displaced mud surrounding the heel which would not be present if the track was a carving.

While some are the strangest human footprints I have ever seen, I was shocked at what I saw.  Namely, there was displaced mud surrounding the prints.  This one fact alone convinced me the tracks were genuine, and Burroughs pointed this out repeatedly in his correspondence.  Burroughs and others who examined the tracks also pointed out that the grains of sand in the sandstone were more compacted under the tracks, and this compaction was visible under a magnifying glass. One of those persons was an artist and a sculptor by the name of Frank Loug (sp? The signature is difficult to read). Obviously Burroughs was seeking Loug's opinion as to whether these were carved tracks or not.  Loug made an interesting observation to which he wrote in an undated, signed letter (transcribed exactly as written, spelling mistakes are in the original):

"It is my opinion as artist and sculptor and from careful examination with magnifying glass, the impressions in the stone at [the Finnell farm] was made by imprint pressure in the substance before this hardened into stone. There is no logical, artistic argument to sustain an opinion that those marks are carved, chiseled, or made by hand. In the first place the prints are scattered aimlessly over the rock with no apparrent design; secondly there are no tool marks visible; thirdly the prints so closely resemble those made by human feet in a soft substance that a manual production so faithful could be, not only, almost beyond human skill, but is inconceivable since an artistic motive for such work would be lacking.
I can testify that the sand grains within the tracks are in closer combination than those on the rest of the surface of the stone. They have many appearances of having been compressed by a weight pressure, as the stone surface bulges upwards and outward around the tracks. Then our track, half of which is visible on the surface of the stone, the other half concealed beneath the partly cracked away, overlying layer of newer stone would seem to disprove any argument that these marks were around. All of the marks present an appearance singularly like that of human tracks."

 Indeed, Loug brings up a significant point about a particular track which became exposed over time, of which the heal is only visible in this early photo:

(Click on image for larger version - Photo used with Permission from the Berea College archives www.berea.edu)
This particular track is significant in that it was only exposed after Burroughs had started his research, and several eye witnesses signed a testimony documenting how this track became exposed after the overlying layer had eroded away.  The letter reads:

"We, the undersigned, herewith go on record that we saw the following on the sandstone rock which bears the fossil tracks on the farm of Mr. O. Finnell, Rockcastle County, Ky..  At the end of the rock outcrop where one footprint is partially covered by Pottsville sandstone solid and in place, the Pottsville sand grains near this partially exposed  track did not show foot-prints in the rock, until within the last few weeks. During these last few weeks sand grains have been gradually worn away due to people having walked on the rock and brushed the rock off, and rain water having washed over the rock, until now there are several imprints of toes and the front parts of the feet exposed to view.   ....This is one of several additional proofs that the tracks are real tracks, such proofs being the uproll of the sandstone adjacent to each track where the sand was pushed upward by the pressure of the creature's foot, the closer texture of the sand within than outside the tracks due to pressure of the feet, the fact that two tracks are distinctly seen to pass beneath solid Pottsville sandstone in situ.
Yours very truly, signed, W.G. Burroughs, M.R. Burroughs, G. Pruitte Sentt(?), Mark H. Clark, W. A. Finnell.
June 28, 1939
This is why the footprint count at the track site varies the reports: originally it was ten tracks, then eleven, then twelve.  It is because other footprints were being exposed over time.  The tracks are clearly not carvings.
You probably noticed the odd placement of the toes in the first casting. This is actually caused by the person habitually running barefoot.  In fact, one person who had visited the Berea tracks with Dr. Burroughs had placed his feet within the Berea tracks and noted the remarkable match:
"My own feet as you will recall, fitted in the tracks perfectly, even to the arches, the only exception being the wider toe spread in the track.  During my years residence and travels in Far Eastern Oriental countries, I was a very close observer of the natives, their habits and customs. the foot tracks you discovered could well be those of barefoot natives of remote villages and jungle settlements or those of aboriginal tribes with whom I came in frequent contact, so near do they approach the formation of these prehistoric 'tracks'. Most cordially yours, A. Merle Hooper" (Private correspondence to Burroughs from A. Merle Hooper, October 18, 1938)

Several of the tracks were in right-left pattern, enabling identification of the track maker as bipedal (walking on two legs).


Casting of Berea tracks in the "Fossil Human Footprints" exhibit, Creation Science Museum of Canada.  Again, note the displacement of the sand by the footprints.  The cracks were in the wax casting, and not the original rock.


The site of the Berea fossil footprints.  Sadly, all the tracks have been cut out of the rock over the past 70+ years.

Except for his one outburst in response to the New York Times' science editor Kempffert, you could see Burrough's own private struggle with the footprints. They were clearly fossil footprints - of that much he was certain. But he knew the ramifications of the tracks being made by humans, and thus struggled with accepting them as human.  His struggle can be seen in the words of many of those who have seriously considered and looked into these Carboniferous tracks.

Why the struggle? Because if man has been around since the Carboniferous, then evolution has been rightly falsified.  It also means the earth is young, and that Creation is true.  The ramifications are spiritual in nature, not physical.  Scientific evidence showing the earth is young is not a big deal.  Pointing to a Creator God? That is a big deal in the minds of men.  The Berea fossil footprints provide excellent evidence of humans in the Carboniferous.

In the next CrEvo News, we'll give another special report on first-hand research into some mysterious fossil footprints at Horton Bluff, Nova Scotia, which are just as stunning in their ramifications as the Berean footprints.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Um... those don't look anything like human footprints. More like a child's sketch of a human footprint. Weird.

So is it your contention that sometime in the last 6,000 years, that's what human footprints looked like?

Then what happened? They evolved?

Jon Woolf said...

Also, someone was extremely sloppy in their geology. Juby follows his sources and refers to them consistently as "Carboniferous footprints," with an alleged age of "250 million years ago." Problem: 250 million years ago is the very end of the Permian Period. The Carboniferous period extends from 359 to 299 million years ago. I don't see any other useful information for establishing the geologic context of the prints. Where exactly is the Finnell farm - latitude and longitude? What unit of rock were the prints in?

The number of toes and the plain, unspecialized outline of the tracks suggests they may have come from a primitive tetrapod (five is the basal number for tetrapod toes), of which there were plenty around during the Carboniferous.

Anonymous whatsit said...

Juby's entertaining, like a comedian, but unfortunately Radar doesn't follow his own dictum of "Think for yourself" when he thinks someone is supporting his side.

radar said...

So the three commenters did not read the entire post or those comments would not be made. The cartoonish footprints first displayed were the Darwinist representations and mistaken labeling by careless publications and Ian Juby decided to investigate to find out whether there was actual evidence of real footprints or just another humbug. So the first footprints pictured were not the actual prints and, as you read down, you see the actual pictures and descriptions of the prints.

"Carboniferous" was the original headline which was attached to the prints and upon which Juby followed up. Since such dating tags are nonsense anyway, there is no need to try to correct the "mistake" because there was no 250 million years ago. Deep ages are complete nonsense. Many times I have pointed out all sorts of evidence to support a young Earth and will not reprise them all in a comments thread. Suffice to say that I have successfully argued against 250,000 years of Earth, let alone 250 million years. That is Darwinist propaganda.

It would be interesting to hear commenters respond to the videos. As previously stated on this blog, mankind cannot have been on Earth reproducing for 200,000 years and in fact life itself could not, we would be buried in organisms and people after such a long time. The Earth's population agrees with a starting point at about the time of Noah's family stepping off of the Ark.

Real science also is illustrated in the new findings concerning DNA in that, in fact, much of the actions of DNA are dedicated to finding and eliminating the mutations Darwinists claim cause progress. Honestly, if you really believed mistakes made things better you should go outside and take a sledgehammer to your car and see if you can beat it into a Ferrari?

radar said...

"Carboniferous" is actually quoted from the Scientific American article that Ian referenced and that article is promoted by talk origins, naturally.

Anonymous said...

Suffice to say that I have successfully argued against 250,000 years of Earth, let alone 250 million years.

just highlighting my favorite recent radar line.

lava

Jon Woolf said...

"Since such dating tags are nonsense anyway, there is no need to try to correct the "mistake" because there was no 250 million years ago."

So, conventional geology is convicted via drumhead trial without even a chance to defend itself. Very fair of you, Radar.

"It would be interesting to hear commenters respond to the videos. "

Why bother? A staged, edited video created by someone with a known bias and no respect for the truth proves nothing.

With no valid information on the provenance of the alleged footprints, no valid conclusions can be drawn from them. The chain of possession lies in smoking ruins.

Anonymous said...

"The cartoonish footprints first displayed were the Darwinist representations and mistaken labeling by careless publications and Ian Juby decided to investigate to find out whether there was actual evidence of real footprints or just another humbug. So the first footprints pictured were not the actual prints and, as you read down, you see the actual pictures and descriptions of the prints."

Who says I was referring to the cartoonish depictions at the top?

Look at the actual photographs. Do you think they look like human footprints? Seriously?

No arch, laterally symmetrical, all five toes the same length and size?

Again, if it's your contention that human footprints looked like this sometime in the last 6,000 years, why don't we have footprints like that now?

Do you think we evolved?

"Hot Lips" Houlihan said...

"Suffice to say that I have successfully argued against 250,000 years of Earth, let alone 250 million years."

Last time I checked (and I suspect for the indefinite future), YECs couldn't make heads or tails of any dating-related data in any way at all that supports their scenario. How would you line up, say, ice core layers and tree rings and radiometric data in a way that makes them support a 6,000-year timeline?

Once you've done that, then you can boast that you've successfully argued against an old-Earth scenario.

Unfortunately for you, it's impossible, which is why YECs are stuck having to whine about an outlier here, an outlier there, and numerous willful misunderstandings.

radar said...

If any readers check out the comments threads, I can assure you that you can find articles I have posted that absolutely lay out the case for a young Earth, the fallacy of a so-called uniform geologic column (hint, there isn't one), other cases of proofs of humans living with dinosaurs and human footprints in supposedly ancient rock.

Also, many articles about DNA and Biogenesis pointing out the humbug of abiogenesis research. That is one of those ultimate "the check is in the mail" concepts.

I very often focus on the foundations of Darwinism because they are not there. Once you realize there is no foundation, the Darwinist house of cards falls flat. Naturalism is a religion and Darwinism is simply a collection of assertions made by naturalist scientists that were questionable in the 19th Century and preposterous in the 21st Century. This is why talk origins and the NCSE and other such organizations are willing to be blatantly deceptive and focused on censorship and propaganda. Because the actual science points people away from long ages and Darwin.

Anonymous said...

Way to evade the questions, Radar.

Jon Woolf said...

"I can assure you that you can find articles I have posted that absolutely lay out the case for a young Earth, the fallacy of a so-called uniform geologic column (hint, there isn't one), other cases of proofs of humans living with dinosaurs and human footprints in supposedly ancient rock."

Oh, you've posted articles on all those things, f'sure.

Problem is, the ones that aren't outright lies are simply wrong. As proven by the questions that YEC can't answer, but conventional theory can.

Anonymous whatsit said...

"Also, many articles about DNA and Biogenesis pointing out the humbug of abiogenesis research. "

All of which somehow manage to evade the subject of abiogenesis research. Funny that.

Anonymous whatsit said...

And by the way, did you just not understand the questions posed here, or are you running away from answering them?

Anonymous said...

And Brave Sir Radar ran away...

Anonymous said...

While there's a lull in the action here, which I suspect has something to do with Radar's poor health, I found one of his quotes posted on fstdt.com (just in case, FSTDT = Fundies Say The Darndest Things).

http://www.fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=78582

Some of the comments on the quote (which is a doozy by-the-way) are pretty funny.

-Canucklehead.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty well convinced that the planet is millions of years old. I can pile up dead plant matter to produce compost, and can pretty well guarantee that it won't begin to turn to stone in the couple of thousand of years some people think the Earth has been around. That said, I think there's room for both science and religion without one trying to disprove the other.

radar said...

Sedimentary rocks formed by catastrophism created the rock layers, not mulch piles. Geologists know this. You fail to comprehend where the rocks originate. Not from slow accumulations of solis over long ages.

Derision is apparently one of the main hobbies of Darwinists, as they are free to ignore evidence.