Nearly 1-million-year-old European footprints found | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


News in Brief

Nearly 1-million-year-old European footprints found

Impressions of possible Neandertal ancestors make waves in England

By
12:18pm, February 11, 2014

SOLE SURVIVORS  Footprints impressed into hardened sediment along England’s southeastern coast belonged to human ancestors that lived at least 780,000 years ago.

Footprints of ancient human ancestors at a Stone Age site on England’s southeastern coast emerged briefly only to be eroded away by the sea. At least five individuals created the prints between 1 million and 780,000 years ago, say archaeologist Nick Ashton of the British Museum in London and his colleagues.

The footprints were discovered and photographed in May 2013, the researchers report February 7 in PLOS ONE. A low tide at England’s Happisburgh site revealed that heavy seas had worn away layers of hardened silt, exposing a stretch of footprint-covered sediment.

Many prints contained impressions of the arch and heel. One print displayed toe marks. Lengths and widths of the ancient footprints corresponded to individuals who stood between 3 and 5.7 feet tall, suggesting that adults and youngsters strolled together. The foot sizes resemble those of possible

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content