Who discovered the oldest footprints dating back 117 000 years

Posted by / 26-Apr-2017 09:37

Langebaan is a small lagoon town on the Cape West Coast.

Situated an easy hour’s drive from Cape Town, Langebaan provides an ideal base from which to explore the West Coast and the bounty of excellent attractions in the area.

Dr Nick Ashton said: 'It was clear the hollows resembled prints, and we needed to record the surface as quickly as possible before the sea eroded it away' Scientists created this model of the the footprints using photogrammetric survey data.

The left-hand Rose diagram below the model reveals the orientation data for 49 of the prints, while the right-hand diagram shows the direction of movement for 29 prints ‘Although we knew that the sediments were old, we had to be certain that the hollows were also ancient and hadn’t been created recently,’ said Dr Simon Lewis, a geoarchaeologist at Queen Mary University of London.

Only those at Laetoli in Tanzania at about 3.5 million years and at Ileret and Koobi Fora in Kenya at about 1.5 million years are more ancient.

Many anthropologists believe there was an evolutionary link between Homo ergaster and Homo heidelbergensis.

Anthropologists and evolutionary biologists from around the UK have been studying the tracks, and believe they may have been related to an extinct form of human ancestor known as Homo antecessor, or "Pioneer Man".Formed by the rising and falling of sea levels during prehistoric times, Langebaan Lagoon is a purely salt water lagoon.Langebaan boasts almost year round sunshine and its safe waters and reliable winds make it a paradise for water sport enthusiasts – particularly kite surfers, boaters, wind surfers, kayakers, yachtsmen, water skiers, and fishermen.The footprints were discovered in May 2013 by Nicholas Ashton, curator at the British Museum, and Martin Bates from Trinity St David's University, who were carrying out research as part of the Pathways to Ancient Britain (PAB) project.The footprints were found in sediment, partially covered by beach sand, at low tide on the foreshore at Happisburgh.

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