Friday, October 14, 2016

Footprints in the ash

Even though they were discovered in 2008, scientists have just published descriptions of footprints of ancient humans found in mud near Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano in Ethiopia.

They aren't nearly as old as the australopithecine tracks found near Laetoli.  The article says they're between 5,800 and 19,100 years old.  There's a lot of specificity lacking there.

Here's an informational excerpt:

By identifying the youngest crystals buried in the mud using geochronological techniques, the team found the tracks could have been deposited as far back as 19,100 years ago, with a margin of error of a few thousand years.

Now that the timeframe has been narrowed, the researchers want to move on to studying more about how these people lived and socialised. There are still plenty of mysteries left to solve.

"It's a very complicated site," one of the team, William Harcourt-Smith from the City University of New York, told National Geographic. "There's one area where there are so many prints, we've nicknamed it the 'dance hall', because I've never seen so many prints in one place. It's completely nuts."
Hundreds of human footprints discovered near African volcano

(Make sure to click the link in the article to the National Geographic article.  There's also a link to the actual science journal paper article.)

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