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Stone Age Footwork: Ancient human prints turn up down under

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10:07am, January 4, 2006

Researchers working near the shore of a dried-up lake basin in southeastern Australia have taken a giant leap backward in time. They've uncovered the largest known collection of Stone Age human footprints.

The 124-or-more human-foot impressions, as well as a few prints left by kangaroos and other animals, originated between 23,000 and 19,000 years ago in a then-muddy layer of silt and clay, say archaeologist Steve Webb of Australia's Bond University in Robina and his colleagues. Their report appears in the January Journal of Human Evolution.

The discoveries, which lie in an area consisting of 19 ancient lake basins known as the Willandra Lakes system, provide a unique look at the

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