850,000-year-old human footprints found in Norfolk

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850,000-year-old human footprints found in Norfolk  Empty 850,000-year-old human footprints found in Norfolk

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:07 pm

Happisburgh prints believed to have been left by small group of adults and children are the oldest discovered outside Africa

850,000-year-old human footprints found in Norfolk  Footprint-hollows-on-the--004


The oldest human footprints found outside Africa, dated at between 850,000 and 950,000 years old, have been discovered on the storm-lashed beach at Happisburgh in Norfolk, one of the fastest-eroding stretches of the British coast. Within a fortnight, the sea tides that had exposed the prints last May destroyed them, leaving only casts and 3D images made through photogrammetry (stitching together hundreds of photographs) as evidence that a little group from a long-extinct early human species had passed that way.
They walked through a startlingly different landscape from today's, along the estuary of what may have been the original course of the Thames, through a river valley grazed by mammoths, hippos and rhinoceros. The pattern of the prints suggests at least five individuals heading southward, pausing and pottering about to gather plants or shellfish along the bank. They included children. The best preserved prints, clearly showing heel, arch and four toes – one toe may not have left a clear impression – is of a man with a foot equivalent to a modern size 8 shoe, suggesting a height of about 1.7 metres.

[/url]Footprint hollows on the beach at Happisburgh, Norfolk. Photograph: Martin Bates


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