The Laetoli hominin footprints have finally met their match. A group of footprints dating between 850,000 and 950,000 years ago were reported in coastal Happisburgh, the United Kingdom, as seen in a publication in Plos One today. The work was headed by Nick Ashton of the British Museum.
Footprints are rarely preserved prehistorically—their survival generaly requires just the right level of moisture and sediment composition, followed by a low-energy depositional context to gently cover the impression. In fact, before this the oldest known footprints in Europe were approximately 350,000 years old, hailing from a steep slope in Italy. After this the record is again sparse, until we find a single footprint dated to between 97 and 63 thousand years ago in Romania, likely that of a Neandertal. The oldest hominin footprints are found in Tanzania, and date to 3.6 million years ago (attributed to A. afarensis).
The reported age of…
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