Todays issue of Science contains a report on the identification of bipedal hominin footprints found at Ileret in Kenya. Of course older hominid footprints, probably of Australopithecus arafensis, were found some years ago at Laetoli and have become iconic images.
The new discovery is of fossil footprints which are morphologically distinct from the much older Laetoli footprints, and are thought to have been left by Homo ergaster or Homo erectus. These footprints were found on two distinct strata at the site. The authors have analysed the prints in detail using laser scanning. Stride analysis of the tracks suggests the originators were about 1.75 to 1.76m tall (though there are some sequences of prints from a smaller individual), considerably larger than A.afarensis. Some of the footprints (see panel B in the figure below) show well-preserved imprints of individual toes. Read the rest of this entry »