Anthropologists recently announced they’ve discovered the first example of footprints from the early human species Homo erectus. The trail of prints uncovered in Kenya were made by feet remarkably like ours, but 1.5 million years ago.
Unlike the 3.75-million-year-old footprints found in Tanzania and attributed to Australopithecus afarensis (the same species as Lucy), these trails are markedly different from the tracks of apes. All of the toes are parallel and relatively short and there’s an arch. This anatomy implies a bipedal species that had a similar gait to that of modern humans. Footprint trails like this one provide a rare glimpse of our ancient ancestors’ soft tissues – as opposed to the fossilized bones we usually rely on to answer questions about their bodies.
Check out the abstract of the research published in Science.
These articles provide more information about the latest discovery:
- New York Times: “Prints Show a Modern Foot in Prehumans“
- Wired Science Blog: “Walk Like Us: 1.5 Million-Year-Old Footprints Look Modern“
- CNN: “Ancient footprints: Earliest signs of modern feet“
- Reuters: “Footprints show human ancestor with modern stride“