Saturday, February 28, 2009


News just broke about the discovery of the earliest footprints showing evidence of modern human foot anatomy and gait. The 1.5 million-year-old footprints - attributed to Homo erectus - display signs of a pronounced arch and short, aligned toes, and their size and spacing reflect the height, weight, and walking style of modern humans. Two sets of footprints, one five meters deeper (and approximately 10,000 years older) than the other, were found separated by layers of sand, silt, and volcanic ash near Ileret in northern Kenya. It was in Laetoli, Tanzania, in 1978 that British archaeologist Mary Leakey (1913-1996) discovered the oldest sets of hominid footprints, made by Australopithecus afarensis 3.7 million years ago. After examining them, Louis Robbins from the University of North California observed, "The arch is raised - the smaller individual had a higher arch than I do - and the big toe is large and aligned with the second toe … The toes grip the ground like human toes. You do not see this in other animal forms." The Laetoli prints are suffering from erosion and exposure, which was addressed by the Getty Conservation Institute, but continued deterioration demands a long-term solution. Quigley's Cabinet is compelled to point out that the 80-meter trail of footprints of two hominids walking side by side were found by a member of Leakey's team while throwing elephant dung at a co-worker.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.