Human-Like Tracks in Stone are Riddle to Scientists

Posted by | March 23, 2012

“The prints were found in a sandstone formation known to belong to the Coal Age, about 12 miles southeast of Berea, KY, by Dr. Wilbur G. Burroughs, professor of geology at Berea College, and William Finnell.

“Recently Prof. Burroughs was visited in his laboratory by some Kentucky mountain men, who took him up into their hills and showed him another place where there were many of the footprints. This mountain site, indeed, seems to have been the ‘Old Kentucky Home’ of a whole family of mysterious animals, for Prof. Burroughs reports that the footprints ‘range in size from small ones about 4-1/2 inches long to tracks the size I have written you about,” which were nearly 10 inches in length.

“The footprints are exceedingly curious things. They are the right size to be human- 9 or ten inches in length – and they are almost the right shape. Practically everyone who sees them thinks at first they were made by human feet and it is almost impossible to persuade people that they were not. If the big toes were only a little bigger, and if the little toes didn’t stick out nearly at a right angle to the axis of the foot, the tracks could easily pass for those of a man. But the boldest estimate of human presence on earth is only a million years – and these tracks are 250 times that old!

“The highest known forms of life in the Coal Age were amphibians. Animals related to frogs and salamanders. If this was an amphibian it must have been a giant of its kind. A further puzzling fact is the absence of any tracks of front feet. The tracks, apparently all of the hind feet of biped animals, are turned in all kinds of random directions. At Bearea, two of them are side by side, as though one of the creatures had stood still for a moment.

“So the riddle stands. A quarter of a billion years ago, this Whats-it That Walked Like a Man left footprints on widely scattered sands that time hardened into rock. Then he vanished. And now scientists are scratching their heads.”

Science News Letter
Oct 29, 1938

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