Scientists are baffled by their most recent discovery. No less than four hundred ancient human footprints were found in Tanzania, Africa. They are located in the proximity of an active volcano called Ol Doinyo Lengai, in the North of the country. Specialists estimate that the ancient human footprints have been there for nineteen thousand years. Now, what does this say about evolution?
Archeologists are still stunned by the discovery. The four hundred human footprints were carved into the ground, and covered by deposits brought by a massive flood. Their age shows that that respective group of people must have lived in the Pleistocene times.
In-depth analyses led researchers to believe that the footprints date back to the era when the Homo sapiens started to evolve. The period is specific to the time when early humans began to learn and develop into modern beings. The Pleistocene age was also described as a period of climate change, and this aspect might have determined human migration, the specialists believe.
Researchers are interested in specific details about the group that left us with the impressive legacy of four hundred footprints. Archeologists intend to find out the ratio of women, men, and children in the group. Another important element is their destination. Specialists are also interested in the place that those ancient people were coming from and where they were heading to.
The researchers consider possibilities such as that the Pleistocene individuals might have been traveling or might have been native to nowadays Engare Sero. This is the name of the village nearby the site where the footprints were discovered.
The site was initially found ten years ago, in 2006, by a villager. However, archeologists found out about it only two years later. When the scientists got to the Engare Sero site, only parts of the footprints were exposed. Further excavation revealed the entire size of the area covered by the ancient relics. Specialists estimate that the place is as big as a tennis court.
Initially, the researchers believed that they were facing much older evidence of human life. However, the ground samples revealed that they were less than twenty thousand years old. They found out that they weren’t the same age, some of the human footprints being as young as ten thousand years old.
Researchers explained that they took photos and scans of each footprint. They also compared them to modern day human footprint. There are still many details to be sort out about this exciting discovery.
Image courtesy of: Flickr