Laetoli footprints: Who left these footprints in Tanzania 3.6 million years ago?

(ORDO NEWS) — In 1978, Mary Leakey and her husband Louis Leakey, one of the greatest anthropologists of the 20th century, were on an expedition to Tanzania when they came across a group of footprints, probably an early human species, that have been dated to 3.6 million years old.

It is believed that the eruption of the volcano led to the fact that the footprints of hominids were preserved on the ground. A total of three footprints were found at Laetoli in the Arusha region of Tanzania, making them the oldest footprints known to date.

During an expedition in 1978, Mary Leakey discovered strange footprints on the ground from volcanic ash, immediately alerting her husband. Looking closely, they noticed that these were the tracks of three individuals, very similar to the prints of human feet. However, a problem arose.

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When dating was carried out, it was found that the age of the Laetoli footprints is at least 3.6 million years. This is completely contrary to science.

The find has been studied by various experts, from anthropologists to animal marking specialists, archaeologists and other professionals. Everyone agreed that these were human footprints.

The footprints were only slightly different from modern humans, which completely puzzled the experts. However, despite the fact that this could prove that man existed millions of years ago, it was decided that this is the footprint of “Australopithecus afarensis”.

“The early humans who made these prints were bipedal and had their thumbs in line with the rest of their feet. This means that the feet of early humans were more human-like than ape-like, as monkeys have big toes that diverge a lot to help them climb. and grasping materials as the thumb does.

Footprints also show that the gait of these early people was “heel strike” (the heel of the foot strikes first) and then “toe push” (the toes push off at the end of the stride) – much like modern people walk.

Another set of enigmatic footprints was partially excavated at the adjacent Site A in 1976, but was dismissed as possibly made by a bear. Recent re-excavations of tracks at Site A at Laetoli and detailed comparative analysis have shown that the tracks were made by an early human bipedal hominin.

Principal author Jeremy DeSylva, assistant professor of anthropology at Dartmouth, said: “Now we have overwhelming evidence that in this landscape there were different species of hominins that walked bipedally, but in different ways, on different legs.

We have this evidence from 1970- All that was required was to rediscover these remarkable traces and conduct a more detailed analysis.

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But what confuses experts the most is the number of tools and artifacts dating back to the Precambrian eon found in the area.

For this reason, the existence of elements that require the ability of a sentient being to manufacture supports the theory that Laeoli’s footprints are indeed human, but their belonging to this time period is doubtful.

It is extremely difficult to determine what kind of prints belong to, but other experts believe that age and size leave no choice. Therefore, the closest species is “Homo ergaster” or, in extreme cases, the early “Homo erectus”.

It is worth noting that Homo ergaster is the first hominid whose limb proportions were similar to those of modern humans.

The location of Laetoli is located about 45 kilometers southwest of Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge, near the Serengeti National Park. The site dates back to the Plio-Pleistocene and is known for its hominin footprints preserved in volcanic ash.

In 2002, researchers who discovered hominid footprints on the Greek island of Crete found that they were made incredibly long ago – 5.7 million years ago.

In 2017, Dr. Per Ahlberg of Uppsala University and colleagues found that footprints fossilized in a rock in Crete are 5.7 million years old and made by a human ancestor.

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This was a revolutionary discovery pointing to the possibility of human evolution in Europe, which dealt a blow to the evolutionary theory of African descent. But recent research suggests that the 50 footprints are more than 300,000 years older than previously thought.

It is incredible how, despite the fact that modern science has reached unthinkable development in recent years, the origin of man remains a mystery. Therefore, it is quite possible that the traces of Laetoli really belong to people, but are very ancient.


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