Saturday, December 20, 2014


Hubbard's photograph of a man supposedly fighting
with an elephant in Havasupai Canyon.

On June 21, 2014, I posted a column titled DINOSAURS IN ROCK ART – THE HAVASUPAI CANYON HADROSAUR. In this I expressed my disbelief in the claims of creationists that there are rock art examples of dinosaurs that prove that humans and dinosaurs coexisted and interacted. The example I discussed in that posting, the Havasupai Canyon so-called “hadrosaur” was first recorded by the Doheny expedition in October and November of 1924. On December 13, 2014, I posted a column about that expedition entitled THE DOHENY SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION TO THE HAVA SUPAI CANYON, NORTHERN ARIZONA, OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER, 1924. In this I gave more detail about the background for the publication of the astonishing claims of Samuel Hubbard.

This expedition was led by Samuel Hubbard, Honorary Curator of Archaeology at the Oakland Museum, Oakland, California, who also wrote the report that I quote below:

“The Doheny Scientific Expedition to the Hava Supai Canyon in Northern Arizona, was organized for the express purpose of bringing before the scientific world, certain discoveries relating to prehistoric man made by the writer in three previous visits to this isolated region.” (p. 3)

“This canyon was first visited by the writer in November, 1894, and in February and March, 1895. Most of the matters of prehistoric interest described in this pamphlet, were observed at that time but their true significance was not fully recognized. Endeavors were made at various times to interest scientists in this discovery, but without avail. - - - -
The fact that some prehistoric man made a pictograph of a dinosaur on the walls of this canyon upsets completely all of our theories regarding the antiquity of man. Facts are stubborn and immutable thins. If theories do not square with the facts than the theories must change, the facts remain.
Samuel Hubbard, Director of the expedition.
Oakland, California,
January 26th, 1925.” (p. 5)

Not content with just finding a petroglyph of a standing dinosaur on this expedition, Hubbard also discovered a petroglyph supposedly showing a man and an elephant fighting.

Hubbard's outline drawing of his
"elephant" in Havasupai Canyon
showing the "crab claw" feet of a
bighorn sheep portrayal.

On the same wall with the dinosaur pictograph, and about 15 feet from it, we found a pictograph which was evidently intended for an elephant, attacking a large man. The elephant is striking the man on top of his head with its trunk. The wavy line represents water into which the man has retreated up to his knees. Both arms are upraised and the fingers are visible on one hand. The other hand holds something, the form of which is too vague to be determined. Because there are no tusks indicated our surmise is that it is a cow elephant.
The remains of elephants are very common all over North America and they are found from Alaska to Mexico. Three species are represented: the mammoth, the mastodon and the imperial elephant (elephas imperator) of California. -
We think it probable that the pictograph is intended to represent the California variety. It is apparent that if the man and the elephant are drawn to the same scale, the man is taller than the elephant. In other words the man is more than 14 feet high.
This prehistoric tragedy is significant of several things. Did the men of that day have a taste for elephant meat and prey on the elephant calves? The attack of an infuriated cow elephant whose baby has been slain can be easily understood.” (p. 15)

Crabclaw bighorn portrayal, Petrified Forest
National Park, Photograph Peter Faris.

Grand Canyon desert bighorn sheep,
National Park Service Photo.

The first problem that I see with the claim that this picture shows a human fighting with an elephant is that the supposed elephant appears to have long, relatively thin legs ending in the cloven hoofs of what Campbell Grant called “crab-claw bighorn sheep.” There is no possible way that the feet on this creature could belong to an elephant. Then we have to look at that problematical trunk of the elephant. It extends on past the head of the man farther to the left. If the man is 14 feet tall as Hubbard contends, then this elephant has a trunk that is around 20 feet long! I submit that Occam's Razor points to the improbability of a race of 14 foot tall men fighting toe-to-toe with elephants in prehistoric North America.

I am afraid that I have to ascribe the identity of the animal next to the human figure to the desert bighorn sheep species (albeit a very crude portrayal of such), which still lives in and around the Grand Canyon and are commonly seen there, a food species of considerable importance to the ancient inhabitants of the American southwest. It is clear that Samuel Hubbard led a very unscientific expedition.


Hubbard, Samuel
1925    The Doheny Scientific Expedition to the Hava Supai Canyon, Northern Arizona, October and November, 1924, Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA.

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