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Ancient Footprints of Anatomically Modern Human Found

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Ancient Footprints of Anatomically Modern Human Found Empty Ancient Footprints of Anatomically Modern Human Found

Bài gửi by Hasuongkch on Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:45 am

Ancient Footprints of Anatomically Modern Humans Found
A human being walks along a beach in South Africa. Over 100,000 years later, scientists find footprints left from his ancient stroll. This 1997 article from Encarta Yearbook reports on their discovery.


Ancient Footprints of Anatomically Modern Human Found

The oldest known footprints of an anatomically modern human being have been found in South Africa. Geologist David Roberts of South Africa's Council for Geoscience in Cape Town and paleoanthropologist Lee Berger of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, announced the discovery on August 14, 1997, at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The footprints, found in rock approximately 117,000 years old, were originally made when an early human walked down a wet sand dune near what is now Langebaan Lagoon, located north of Cape Town. The sand fossilized into rock, preserving the foot imprints.

The footprints were about 21 cm (about 8.5 in) long. Roberts has also found several types of Stone Age tools of about the same age near the lagoon, including a spear point and blades for cutting and scraping.

Human fossils in Africa dating from about 100,000 to 200,000 years ago are relatively rare, totaling about three dozen. Anthropologists believe that the first modern-looking humans, our direct ancestors, emerged in Africa during this time period.

The recently discovered footprints were only the fourth set of early human or prehuman prints ever found in Africa, and the only set dating from the emergence of anatomically modern humans. The most famous example of ancient footprints was from a bipedal ancestor to humans who lived 3.6 million years ago. British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey discovered these prints in Laetoli, Tanzania, in 1978.

Source: Encarta Yearbook, August 1997.
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