23 Jan
New Fossil Footprints Could Re-Write Human Evolution Theory New Fossil Footprints Could Re-Write Human Evolution Theory

New Fossil Footprints Could Re-Write Human Evolution Theory

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An international team of researchers recently published their discovery of fossilized human-like footprints in Crete that are approximately 5.7 million years old -- a find that suggests the origins of the human race might have begun in Crete and not, as has become accepted, in Africa.

In fact, the newly discovered fossilized prints that appear to be human date to a time when human ancestors in Africa possessed ape-like feet. This calls into question the idea, commonly held since the middle of the 20th century, that a previous discovery of fossils of Australopithecus in South and East Africa placed the origin of humanity there.

A press release from Uppsala University explains that human feet are characterized by a very specific shape which is distinct from that of all other land animals. When compared to the feet of our closest relatives, the great apes, the distinctions become clear: Human feet have five short forward-pointing toes and a big toe that's larger than the other toes, while ape feet resemble human hands, with thumbs that jut out to the sides.

The old Australopithecus prints look more human-like, other than having a narrower heel and not much if any arch.

The new foot prints, though, appear unmistakably human in form, particularly when it comes to the toes. The big toe, in particular, looks more like ours in terms of position, size, and shape. It also is associated with an obvious "ball" on its sole, which is never the case with apes.

Professor Per Ahlberg at Uppsala University, lead author of the study, said, "This discovery challenges the established narrative of early human evolution head-on and is likely to generate a lot of debate".

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Read 1502 times Last modified on Monday, 14 January 2019 01:06
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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