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Early human footprints

Early human footprints

E438/0125

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Credit

PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Early human footprints. Floodlit night shot of 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). The age of the tracks places them in the middle Pleistocene period, which 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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