Tuesday, 5 September 2017

5.7 million year old human-like footprints in Greece raise questions

The human foot is distinctive. Our five toes lack claws, normally the sole of our foot is flat to the ground, and our first and second toes are longer than the smaller ones. In comparison to other primates, our big toes are in line with the long axis of the foot—they don’t stick out to one side. Thus human-like fossil footprints found at Trachilos, Crete, that are 5.7 million years old has caused a major stir.

The “cradle of humanity” has long been thought to lie in Africa, with most researchers suggesting that Ethiopia was where the human lineage originated. The oldest known footprints were found at Laetoli in Tanzania and come from the Pliocene. These are some 3.66 million years old. The presence of Miocene hominids in Europe means humans may have had more than one 'homeland'.