The Zapata Track

Description: In 1987 paleontologist Jerry MacDonald discovered a number of fossilized tracks from many different species of animals and birds in a Permian strata dated at 290 to 248 million years ago. Among the tracks were prints of a human foot.

Mainstream Theory: The Zapata track has not been demonstrated to be a real footprint, nor has any evidence been provided that the rock came from a Permian rock formation. Without more substantial evidence regarding its origin, the print is a curiosity at best, not reliable anti-evolutionary evidence. -- Glen J. Kuban

Alternative Theory: In 1987, not far from the Zapata track site, paleontologist Jerry MacDonald discovered a variety of beautifully preserved fossil footprints in Permian strata. The Robledo Mountain site contains thousands of footprints and invertebrate trails that represent dozens of different kinds of animals. Because of the quality of preservation and sheer multitude of different kinds of footprints, this tracksite has been called the most important Early Permian sites ever discovered. Some that have visited the site remark that it contains what appears to be a barefoot human print. �The fossil tracks that MacDonald has collected include a number of what paleontologists like to call �problematica.� On one trackway, for example, a three-toed creature apparently took a few steps, then disappeared�as though it took off and flew. �We don�t know of any three-toed animals in the Permian,� MacDonald pointed out. �And there aren�t supposed to be any birds.� He�s got several tracks where creatures appear to be walking on their hind legs, others that look almost simian. On one pair of siltstone tablets, I notice some unusually large, deep and scary-looking footprints, each with five arched toe marks, like nails. I comment that they look just like bear tracks. �Yeah,� MacDonald says reluctantly, �they sure do.� Mammals evolved long after the Permian period, scientists agree, yet these tracks are clearly Permian.� (�Petrified Footprints: A Puzzling Parade of Permian Beasts,� The Smithsonian, Vol. 23, July 1992, p.70.)