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What does a 200 million year old fossil with a shoe print tell us?
Yu Wenlong, Ed.,

A recent exhibit of a collection of prehistoric fossils at the Biology and Geography Research Institute of the Science Academy of China has attracted a lot of attention. The collection belongs to a retired schoolteacher in Urumqi, Xijiang Province, China who has been collecting fossils for 30 years. One particular fossil dated 200 million years ago has a shoe print on it.

The schoolteacher discovered the fossil on Red Mountain in Urumqi City in 1997. The shoe print is on a slate rock and measures approximately 10 inches. It is clearly a shoe print. On the heel portion of the shoe print, there is a prehistoric codfish fossil about five inches long.

The retired schoolteacher determined that it was a left shoe print based on the distribution of its weight on the slate rock. Scientists determined the age of the prehistoric codfish fossil to be 200 millions years of age. This means that men wore shoes at least 200 million years ago.

This isn’t the first time that people have found fossils with shoe prints next to them. It is known that the trilobite existed between 280 million and 320 million years ago. A local rock hound in Antelope Springs named William J. Meister was hunting for trilobites along a hillside near Antelope Springs, Utah in 1968 when he broke open a slab and discovered something curious: an oblong shape that he took for a human sandal print. This was quite shocking since the rock at this locality is identified as the middle Cambrian Wheeler Formation--over 500 million years old. The supposed sandal print measured approximately 10 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches, and occurred on both sides of the slab (with opposite relief). The specimen included what Meister took as a heel demarcation, as well as several small trilobites. Dr. Melvin. A. Cook, a renowned chemist at the University of Utah has confirmed the authenticity of the sandal print, “Quite obviously this footprint could not be the result of any carving, since, until found by Meister, it was covered by the strata above.”

One of the most remarkable tracks was found in Fisher Canyon, Pershing County, Nevada. On January 25, 1927, an amateur geologist named Albert E. Knapp was descending a small hill in the canyon, when he spotted the fossil laying topside up among a pile of loose rocks. He picked it up and took it home with him. Upon closer examination, Knapp was astounded to discover, “It is a layer from the heel of a shoe which had been pulled up from the balance of the heel by suction, the rock being in a plastic state at the time.” The shoe print was in a marvelous state of preservation - the edges of the heel were smooth and rounded off as if cut, and its right side appeared more worn than the left - suggesting it had been worn on the right foot. But what Knapp found really amazing was that the rock in which the heel mark was made, was Triassic limestone - 225 million years old - which runs in a belt through the canyon hills he had been exploring. The rock was later examined by an expert geologist at the Rockefeller Foundation, who confirmed Knapp’s analysis. The presence of minute crystals of sulphide of mercury throughout spaces in the fossil also testified to it being of great antiquity.

The real surprise about the age-old heel imprint, however, did not come until microphotographs revealed that the leather had been stitched by a double row of stitches, the twists of the threads is very discernable. One line followed along the heel’s outer edge, and the second line paralleled the first precisely, inwards by one-third of an inch. What baffled investigators was the fact that this double-stitching had been done with thread much smaller, and more refined in workmanship, than that used by shoe-makers in 1927, when the fossil print was discovered. As Mr. Samuel Hubbard, Honorary Curator of Archaeology of the Oakland Museum in California, commented: “There are whole races of primitive men on earth today utterly incapable of sewing that moccasin. What becomes of the Darwinian theory in the face of this evidence that there were intelligent men on earth millions of years before apes were supposed to have evolved?”

The fossils with shoe prints are a direct challenge to Darwin’s theory of evolution. They indicate that there was at least one period of civilization before our civilization.

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