Early human footprint

Early human footprint

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Credit: PASQUALE SORRENTINO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Early human footprint. Researcher Marco Avanzini measuring a fossilized footprint in volcanic rock on the Roccamonfina volcano, near Naples, Italy. It is part of a set of footprints known locally as "devil's tracks". They were identified as human in 2003, and have been dated to 385,000-325,000 years ago. The tracks were made in volcanic ash from an eruption. The size of the footprints, about 20 centimetres long, suggests that they were made by a hominid 1.5 metres tall, standing fully upright (erect). The age 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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