Early human footprints

Early human footprints

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Credit: PASQUALE SORRENTINO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Early human footprints. Fossilized footprints in volcanic rock on the Roccamonfina volcano, near Naples, Italy. Known locally as "devil's tracks", they were identified as human in 2003, and have been dated to between 385,000-325,000 years ago. The size of the tracks, made in volcanic ash from an eruption, indicates that they were made by a hominid 1.5 metres tall, standing fully upright (erect). This set of tracks shows how the hominid walked from side to side to negotiate the steep slope. The age of the tracks indicates that they were made by Homo heidelbergensis, a descendent of Homo erectus and an ancestor of modern man (Homo sapiens).

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Keywords: 21st century, ancient, anthropological, anthropology, devil's tracks, early human, erect, europe, european, footprint, footprints, fossil, fossil man, geological, geology, hominid, hominids, hominin, homo erectus, homo heidelbergensis, human, humans, igneous, italian, italy, palaeoanthropology, palaeontological, palaeontology, paleoanthropology, paleontological, paleontology, pleistocene, prehistoric, prehistory, prints, roccamonfina, rock, tracks, volcanic, volcano

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