Prehistoric Footprints & The Origins Of Humanity

KeyserXSoze

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#1
http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200402/kt2004020615200010440.htm
Footprints of Paleothic Man Found on Cheju Island

By Han Eun-jung
Footprints of a Paleolithic man, the first to be found in Asia, and fossilized animal tracks dating back to about 50,000 years ago were discovered on Cheju Island, the Cultural Properties Administration said at a press briefing in Seoul on Friday.

More than 100 footprints of ancient man and thousands of horse, elephant, bird and deer fossil tracks were found in Namcheju-gun on the southern island province of Cheju and along the shores of the island's Andok-myon.

The fossils were discovered by Professor Kim Jung-yul of the Korean National University of Education last October when he was conducting studies on the fossils of mammals and birds. Some 1,000 fossils of deer and 200 fossils of birds were discovered. Also found were the fossils of mollusks, anthropods and plants.

Footprints of Paleothic man are a rare sight and have been seen in only six other countries _ Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Chile, France and Italy _ to date.

The human footprints that Kim found are of 21-25 centimeters in length, and the imprints of the foot are clearer than those found in Kenya and Tanzania. Not only are the heel and ball of the foot evident in the imprints but the imprint of the medial arch is also explicit.

``This discovery is evidence that Paleothic man lived in the Cheju area, and it is also important data that can help in understanding the body build of ancient man,'' Kim said.

Horse fossil tracks, which have been found only in the United States and Tanzania, and elephant footprints, reported to have been seen in the U.S., Tanzania, Argentina and Japan are also rare discoveries.

The collection was uncovered from the geological stratum that formed in the late Pleistocene, which falls under the quaternary stage of the Cenozoic Era.

The Culture Properties Administration is considering naming the area a national monument and has restricted entrance as of Feb. 5 in an effort to preserve the fossils.
 
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#2
Earliest 'human footprints' found
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7913375.stm

Laser scanning was used to plot the exact dimensions of the prints
The earliest footprints showing evidence of modern human foot anatomy and gait have been unearthed in Kenya.

The 1.5-million-year-old footprints display signs of a pronounced arch and short, aligned toes, in contrast to older footprints.

The size and spacing of the Kenyan markings - attributed to Homo erectus - reflect the height, weight, and walking style of modern humans.

The findings have been published in the journal Science.

The footprints are not the oldest belonging to a member of the human lineage. That title belongs to the 3.7 million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis prints found in Laetoli, Tanzania, in 1978.

Those prints, however, showed comparatively flat feet and a significantly higher angle between the big toe and the other toes, representative of a foot still adapted to grasping.

Exactly how that more ape-like foot developed into its modern version has remained unclear.

The fossil record is distinctly lacking in foot and hand bones, according to lead author Matthew Bennett of Bournemouth University, UK.

"The reason is that carnivores like to eat hands and feet," Professor Bennett told BBC News.

"Once the flesh is gone there's a lot of little bones that don't get preserved, so we know very little about the evolution of hands and feet on our ancestors."




The footprints were found near Ileret in northern Kenya. The site, on a small hill, is made up of metres of sediment which the researchers carefully cleared away.

What they found was two sets of footprints, one five metres deeper than the other, separated by sand, silt, and volcanic ash.

The team dated the surrounding sediment by comparing it with well-known radioisotope-dated samples from the region, finding that the two layers of prints were made at least 10,000 years apart.

Another critical feature that the series of footprints makes clear is how Homo erectus walked.

There is evidence of a heavy landing on the heel with weight transferred along the outer edge of the foot, progressing to the ball of the foot and lifting off with the toes.

"That's very diagnostic of the modern style of walking, and the Laetoli prints don't give that same character," Professor Bennett said.

The finding is a critical clue for mapping out the evolution of modern humans, both in terms of physiology and also how H. erectus fared in its environment.

H. erectus was a great leap in evolution, showing increased variety of diet and of habitat, and was the first Homo species to make the journey out of Africa.

"There's some suggestion out there that Homo erectus was able to scour the landscape for carcasses and meat...and was able to get there very quickly, had longer limbs and was much more efficient in terms of long distance travel," Professor Bennett added.

"Now we're also saying it had an essentially modern foot anatomy and function, which also adds to that story."
 

Yithian

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#3
20,000-Year-Old Human Footprints Found in Australia

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060803-footprint.html

It's not just that these ancient footprints exist that is interesting, but the comparative wealth of information that can be derived from them. Not least that ancient hunters were running at speeds comparable to modern human athletes over soft ground--which is amazing to me.

Article not new, but interesting.
 

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#4
Mungoman has trod those ancient shores. I wonder if they were his footprints. He'd be about the right age. :omr:
 

maximus otter

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#5
"A set of ancient footprints has been found on a Greek island. They are extremely old – 5.7 million years – yet they seem to have been made by one of our hominin ancestors.

At that time, hominins are thought to have been confined to Africa. The discovery supports the controversial suggestion that they may also have been living in eastern Europe.



The ancient footprints [are] on the tiny island of Trachilos near Crete. Gierliński teamed up with colleagues, including Per Ahlberg at Uppsala University, Sweden, to analyse the tracks.

The team found they could recognise two distinct sets of footprints, both apparently left by an animal that walked upright on two legs.

The shape of the prints suggests similarities with hominin feet. Most obviously, they were clearly left by an animal that walked on the soles of its feet, as hominins do, rather than just on its toes. The prints show the track-maker had five toes, with the big toe particularly well developed – another hominin feature. And there is no evidence of claw marks, consistent with the fact that hominins have toenails rather than claws.

But surprisingly, fossil and geological evidence indicates that the footprints are 5.7 million years old. That means they predate the period during which hominins are conventionally believed to have left Africa by about 4 million years.

“They are almost without doubt actual footprints of a bipedally-walking animal,” says Robin Crompton at the University of Liverpool, UK, who was not involved in the study but who has analysed other hominin footprints.

However, exactly what sort of animal is still unclear."

https://www.newscientist.com/articl...ints-suggest-we-evolved-in-europe-not-africa/

maximus otter
 

eburacum

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#6
Hominins seem to have been quite diverse, like deer and antelope are today, with a wide range and several species at any one time. Other groups of animals have become less diverse in the recent geological past, and are now represented by only a few species (elephants and horses for example). Hominins are now only represented by a single species these days.

The fact that hominins may have existed in Europe doesn't imply that they evolved into humans here - far from it.
 

eburacum

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#9
Well, applying my 'multiverse logic' to the situation, I'd say that it is true in at least 95% of all universes that are consistent with this one. Maybe there are a few worlds where Bigfoot exists and everything else is the same, but they are very rare.
 
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#11
Aren't humans and chimps both hominins?
This outlines the new definitions and gives some background info:

New definitions
The most commonly used recent definitions are:

Hominid – the group consisting of all modern and extinct Great Apes (that is, modern humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans plus all their immediate ancestors).

Hominin – the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors (including members of the genera Homo, Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Ardipithecus).

Previous definitions
Current use of the term ‘hominid’ can be confusing because the definition of this word has changed over time.
The term ‘hominid’ used to have the same meaning that ‘hominin’ now has. It was therefore a very useful term to designate the line leading to modern humans and was used when referring to various members of our human evolutionary tree.

‘Hominid’ has now been assigned a broader meaning and now refers to all Great Apes and their ancestors. This new terminology is being used in many scientific journals already, and it is only a matter of time (but possibly many years) before everyone catches up to using the new term. ...

https://australianmuseum.net.au/hominid-and-hominin-whats-the-difference
 
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Victory

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#12
Most scientists believe the continents in current form were once in a different formation, joined together in formations variously known as Pangea and Gondwanaland. I guess most contributors to this Forum are well aware of that.

So when I see "Ancient footprints" I am very non-committal, in that they could have been made on a piece of land which was once in a different part of the globe.

I know that these continental break ups were meant to be a long time before this footprint was supposedly made but when dealing with either date, there is incredible room for manouvre.
Do we know 100% that something was so many millions of years old?

If people are arguing over whether a moon landing genuinely happened in 1969, then I allow a lot of leeway on something described as over 5 million years old.

That is not to say I do not find it interesting though, I do!
 
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#13
I was going to make a similar point - that is that the 'Europe' and 'Africa' where our ancestors lived (or didn't, or whatever) had vastly different climates and topography in different eras. In other words, they didn't exist as such, hence the embattled 'we are all Africans' dogma has always struck me as somewhat meaningless.
 

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#14
These Stone Age footprints aren't all that old, but they comprise a set illustrating walking and crawling by 5 people of various ages ...
Humans Crawled Through a Cave 14,000 Years Ago. We Can Still See Their Perfectly Preserved Footprints.

About 14,000 years ago, a party of five barefoot people — two adults, one preteen and two children — walked and even crawled through a dark passageway in a cave, according to a new study that analyzed the hand- and footprints these individuals left behind.

To light their way, these late Stone Age people likely burned bundles of pine (Pinus) sticks, which archaeologists also found in the cave, known as Grotta della Bàsura, in northern Italy.

The cave's ceiling was so low, that at one part, the ancient explorers were forced to crawl, leaving behind "the first evidence ever of human footprints left during crawling locomotion," that is, in a "crouching walk" position ...
FULL STORY (With Photos): https://www.livescience.com/65476-ancient-human-footprints-in-cave.html
 
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EnolaGaia

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#15
Further discoveries and studies of prehistoric footprints on the extinct Italian volcano Roccamonfina suggest human ancestors traversed the volcano's slopes soon after an eruption - and some of them were heading up rather than down.
Mysterious Footprints Indicate Neanderthals Climbed a Volcano Right After It Erupted

According to legend, the devil once took a walk down the side of a volcano in southern Italy, each step preserved forever in solid rock.

The tracks are known as the "Ciampate del Diavolo"' or "Devil's Trail" - but new details reveal a less diabolical yet far more interesting story on how they came to be. ...

Now a new paper suggests some individuals were actually heading back up.

Over recent years numerous expeditions have provided detailed measurements on a total of 67 indentations left by the scuffle of feet, hands, and legs, all divided across three distinct tracks headed away from the mountain's summit.

Thanks to the latest contributions by a team of scientists from institutes across Italy, we now have details on a further 14 prints - these ones even larger than the others - some of which head up the mountain rather than down.

Radiometric and geological dating of the various rock strata have already established the imprints were cast in the soft blanket of ash left in the wake of an eruption that took place around 350,000 years ago, making them some of the oldest preserved human footprints on record.

But just who left these tracks? It's impossible to say for certain based on an assortment of dull shapes pressed awkwardly in time-worn volcanic sediment. ...

Given our own Homo sapiens ancestors developed their characteristic traits only 315,000 years ago, we can be pretty confident they weren't members of our own species.

But the researchers have some clues.

One of the clearer imprints provides clear evidence of a grown human male.

And the shapes of many of the footprints point to an interesting possibility. The broad nature of the hindfoot area, with the low rise of the arch look suspiciously like the feet of individuals buried in the Sima de los Huesos "Pit of Bones".

The owners of those 430,000-year-old remains have been a topic of debate of the years, progressing from Homo heidelbergensis to Neanderthal, to Denisovan, back to Neanderthal.

Assuming they truly are Neanderthals, it's a reasonable – even if not solid – bet that the footprints were left by a gang of young Neanderthal adults.

Still, the researchers are careful about jumping to conclusions.

"We have decided to keep the attribution to a specific species still pending," lead researcher Adolfo Panarello told New Scientist's Michael Marshall. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/hundre...ls-left-their-footprints-on-an-active-volcano
 

EnolaGaia

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#16
Here are the bibliographic details and abstract of the published report on the Roccamonfina footprints.

On the devil's tracks: unexpected news from the Foresta ichnosite (Roccamonfina volcano, central Italy)
Adolfo Panarello Maria Rita Palombo Italo Biddittu Mauro Antonio Di Vito Gennaro Farinaro Paolo Mietto
First published: 09 January 2020
https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.3186

ABSTRACT

The Foresta ichnosite is well known for preserving some of the oldest human fossil footprints recorded in Europe so far. This research aims to: i) describe new footprints that are larger than those already reported, some of which form a new trackway that moves in the opposite direction to all the others; ii) announce the discovery of some stone tools also in the surroundings of the Foresta ichnosite. The new results increase the total number of human fossil footprints to at least 81, specify the direction and the number of footprints of Trackway C, and identify three new directions of walking at the site. More compelling and complete estimates of the dimensional range of all ichnological evidence enables us, furthermore, to estimate the number of trackmakers walking on the trampled surface as a minimum of five, one of them likely being an adult male. The general shape of all the recorded footprints suggests that the Foresta trackmakers share some similarities with those at Sima de los Huesos, and belong to the same taxonomical group as the Ceprano skull. All the new evidence enables us to better understand the presence of hominin populations in the Roccamonfina volcano area during the Middle Pleistocene.
SOURCE: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jqs.3186
 

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#17

SkepticalX

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#19
I've always been somewhat enamored with the idea that in the 200,000 or so years modern homo sapiens have been around, there's been ample opportunity for civilization to rise and fall several times. However, with all these fossilized footprints showing up, it would seem to make that notion unlikely. Still, if this current civilization rose up from the caveman in less than 10,000 years, there would seem to be a huge stretch of time where people were perfectly satisfied to do nothing to better themselves. Does it make sense that we just chilled for 190,000 years before we decided to do anything?
 

Frideswide

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#20
there would seem to be a huge stretch of time where people were perfectly satisfied to do nothing to better themselves. Does it make sense that we just chilled for 190,000 years before we decided to do anything?
I don't think that's what (didn't ) happen!
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#21
I've always been somewhat enamored with the idea that in the 200,000 or so years modern homo sapiens have been around, there's been ample opportunity for civilization to rise and fall several times. However, with all these fossilized footprints showing up, it would seem to make that notion unlikely. Still, if this current civilization rose up from the caveman in less than 10,000 years, there would seem to be a huge stretch of time where people were perfectly satisfied to do nothing to better themselves. Does it make sense that we just chilled for 190,000 years before we decided to do anything?
Lots of factors at play here.

For starters, when the human population was tiny, the chances of the Stone Age equivalent of an Einstein, Da Vinci, Brunel, Tesla or whoever, was proportionally reduced. Furthermore, given that a far shorter life expectancy was taken up for a significant part by defending yourself against predators or other hostile humans, it's astonishing that our ancestors could devote any time to research and development at all!
And yet, some ancient whizz-kids still managed to come up with the bow, the drill, the sled, taming fire, pottery, textiles, writing, astonishingly beautiful sculptures and paintings and megalithic structures like Göbekli Tepe that can still leave us feeling awestruck and humbled today.

So, civilisations have risen and fallen countless times in the past, but they merely employed different technology to ours. In another 200,000 years or so, maybe our distant descendants will scoff at our silicon age, with precious little to show as its legacy!
 

SkepticalX

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#22
The idea of human numbers is an interesting one. There were 1-10 million people 10,000 years ago and 7.5 billion now. I assume that kind of growth could have happened in any 10,000-year period over the last 200,000 years but then, that would require periodic mass extinctions, evidence of which would have surely survived in some form. I guess I will just have to accept that we humans are just late bloomers. :)
 

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#24
Species size is governed by many factors - major ones are food/other resources, disease resistance and being prey.
 

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#25
The idea of human numbers is an interesting one. There were 1-10 million people 10,000 years ago and 7.5 billion now. I assume that kind of growth could have happened in any 10,000-year period over the last 200,000 years but then, that would require periodic mass extinctions, evidence of which would have surely survived in some form. I guess I will just have to accept that we humans are just late bloomers. :)
Agriculture and coal (and more recently, oil) enabled that huge population expansion to take place.
Once oil and coal are gone, there will be a near-extinction event.
 
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