From his blog:
I just noticed a few interesting stories about an announcement from Tanzania that a second set of australopith tracks has been discovered about 60 meters from the original Laetoli footprint trails. The Laetoli tracks were discovered in 1978 by a team led by Mary Leakey. The trackways are about 90 feet long with about 70 prints. The feet are small and the stride is short, and they are typically attributed to an australopith. The prints were made in volcanic ash, and have been dated to 3.6 million radiometric years. More.
He adds, “I’m not so sure we can tell the difference between human and australopith just from their footprints.”
Australopithecus (genus Australopithecus), ( Latin: “southern ape”)
Australopithecus afarensis [Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.]group of extinct creatures closely related to, if not actually ancestors of, modern human beings and known from a series of fossils found at numerous sites in eastern, central, and southern Africa. The various species of Australopithecus lived during the Pliocene (5.3 to 2.6 million years ago) and Pleistocene (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago) epochs. As characterized by the fossil evidence, they bore a combination of human- and apelike traits. Like humans, they were bipedal (that is, they walked on two legs), but, like apes, they had small brains. Their canine teeth were small like those of humans, but their cheek teeth were large. – Britannica
Mary Leakey and coworkers discovered fossils of Australopithecus afarensis at Laetoli in 1978, not far from where a group of hominin (of human lineage) fossils had been unearthed in 1938. The fossils found at Laetoli date to a period between 3.76 and 3.46 million years ago (mya). They come from at least 23 individuals and take the form of teeth, jaws, and a fragmentary infant skeleton. In volcanic sediments dated to 3.56 mya are trails of remarkably humanlike footprints along with those of numerous animals. A. afarensis is best known from the Ethiopian site of Hadar, but the footprints at Laetoli are of monumental importance in the record of human evolution. Homo sapiens fossils have also been found at Laetoli in strata dating to about 120,000 years ago. – Britannica
See also: Bipedal walking at Laetoli (David Tyler)
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